Regarding the Boston Marathon bomb attack: ramifications and defenses.

Regarding the Boston Marathon bomb attack: ramifications and defenses.

I’m still mentally processing the information coming out of Boston about the attack at the Marathon. There’s so much to say, and so much that could happen as a result of this horrendous act, that I can’t possibly do it all justice. So, if you’ll forgive me this rather informal bullet-point treatment of the subject:

– Once again, the news reports during and in the 24 hours after the attack were wildly inaccurate. The problem is that raw intelligence is by nature messy, and it takes someone incredibly skilled and patient to sift through it and come to rational conclusions. The news readers on radio and television are most assurredly not the people to be doing that, yet they always try to be. REASON magazine has a great article about lessons learned from the attack, and it’s well worth your time to read.

– Expect attempts to link this to gun ownership. It’s already been suggested – though with no evidence that I can find – that the bombs consisted of gunpowder. If that’s the case, expect swift action in Congress to limit access to powder and primers. I’ve already seen calls to do something about the “growing threat of IEDs”, and it’s a sure thing that our “leaders” will jump on that with gusto.

– You can bet that any large event will now have omnipresent and quite likely overbearing security. The general public will demand action, and as one idiot in a news interview said: “They can give me a cavity search right now and I’d be perfectly happy”. People will be very quick to give up their liberties for a little perceived security. Expect a push to increase funding for DHS, and an increase in TSA presence outside of airports – places like train terminals and even highways.

– You will hear calls for national programs to install British-style camera networks in major (and probably minor) cities, as well as justification and funding for more drones to “keep us safe”.

– The conspiracy theories and urban legends started seconds after the blast. Don’t get caught up; check information out yourself before passing it on. If in doubt, just hit the delete key.

– Greg Ellifritz had a pretty good article on his blog about dealing with bomb attacks. His thoughts about multiple devices are historically accurate; during the Lebanese “civil” war, the involved forces came up with the idea of launching a mortar shell into a populated area, then wait a minute or so for the first responders to show up. (Lebanon had a pretty well developed cadre of first aid people at that time.) They’d then launch another shell into the same place to take out the responders. This has since been applied by bombers all over the world. Greg’s advice is sound: if you happen to be in an area when a bomb goes off, leave as fast as you can. Sounds callous, I know, but you need to decide for yourself if it’s better than becoming another casualty.

– Don’t ignore how you’re going to get information and handle communications during these events. As we saw in Boston, the cell systems were so thoroughly clogged that it was assumed the police had ordered them shut down. That wasn’t true (despite the fact that it was reported by at least one news reader), but it illustrates the problems inherent with getting information to or from an affected area. Assume that your cel phone will probably be useless; a smartphone with a VOIP app (such as Skype) will often work if you can find an open wifi connection, such as at a library. As we’ve seen in many hurricanes, hardline internet connections stay up when cell towers are damaged and inoperative. A small radio to receive the local stations can be a godsend in such situations, and a radio scanner to listen to both first responders and the local amateur radio traffic has proven to be very useful during natural disasters.Communication during emergencies is a huge topic, and I encourage you to make acquiring the proper knowledge and technology a priority in your planning.

That’s it for today. Be safe, be vigilant, and be prepared.

-=[ Grant ]=-

  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On April 17, 2013