Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why We All Need to be Vigilant – Bomb Sniffing Dogs Deployed Prior to Marathon - Police presence, yet Someone Managed to Plant Bombs.

Bomb sniffing dogs - article from Government Executive on how TSA Bomb sniffing dogs could be doing more...

After the Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center, there was a general reaction, fear, disbelief and a sense that we had become Israel – with all the implication that entails. In the State of Israel, the citizens live with the daily threat of bombs, rockets, suicide bombers hitting “soft” targets – buses and restaurants. The point of a terrorist to use “soft targets” is to engender fear in the populace, and regardless of whether or not the Boston Marathon bombing was a home grown Jihadist, or an Al Queda cell, or some nut who was looking for attention, or an anarchist from the left who is looking to Occupy 15 minute of fame, the main point we, as people in a nation that was changed on September 11, 2001, should be ever vigilant. We have become, as is our nature, more complacent, less aware of our surroundings – we feel “safe” in our surroundings, as there have been few incidents that have occurred since the World Trade Center.

Although the U.S. has the Intel and the policies in place to attempt to stop these attacks (and they have), there is human error on the one hand, and on the other, the sheer will of someone crazy (either clinically or with some sort of politically or religiously motivated zeal), might have figured out how to leave off the “chatter”, and/or get around it, so that those who are vigilant cannot know when a bomb might go off. This would leave our intelligence without the ability to prevent further attacks, or to miss a planned attack. It would be far more difficult if it were a random person, with an unknown motive (insanity, political zeal, religious zeal) for the national security forces and departments to prevent this type of terrorism.

In the aftermath of the Bombing, in interviews, and elsewhere, it was known that there was either a training exercise or plain security in place: from the Guardian/UK

Davis says this year's race had a stronger security presence than usual: We review each one of these events. At the end of our review last year, we determined that the crowds were larger than usual. And so we put additional officers at the end of the race," the police commissioner says.

There was no specific threat about this event ... this was a standard threat picture.

Davis says undercover officers were "fully deployed" among the crowd as were bomb-sniffing dogs.

Additionally, a coach from an UM Alabama noted the presence of bomb sniffing dogs, and spotters on the roof, prior to and during the marathon.(Local TV 15, Mobile, AL)

Some attempting to debunk the “theory” of a police presence with dogs prior to the race present the following evidence: The Boston Police/EMS had such plans in place: Main (Training Summit – the running of a planned mass casualty event” (PDF)) it is apparent they were well aware of the ability for such an event to take place, and especially important, how to respond.

The fact that there may have been increased security before and during the event is not out of the question, yet, even with the bomb sniffing dogs, something went missing. The dogs, which are well trained, may not have found the type of IED that is generally found in Afghanistan, and/or the bombs were placed in position after the dogs had “swept” an area. What this means is that someone, in a crowd, dropped a backpack or other fabric carrier, into the trashcan and no-one noticed. If someone threw away a backpack, or tote of some sort, would it be any cause for concern? It should be, it should have been, since 9/11, we, every one of us, should take stock of our surroundings and look for the “unusual”.

It is not unusual for people to drop a backpack into the trash – perhaps it was old, tattered, and too heavy to carry. – but if one finds themselves, in a mall, or theater, or restaurant or getting onto a bus, or in a train station, or concert, or at a sporting event, and someone either leaves, drops or walks away from a backpack – that’s worth noting. For example, if it’s 90 degrees and someone walks into an event, onto a bus, and is wearing a bulky coat, they are either crazy, or about to blow up the bus, concert, etc. – It’s worth noting, calling an authority, the same if one spots someone dumping something into a trash can, or leaving it on the side of the trashcan, or behind the trashcan or mailbox, or side of a store in a mall. It’s time for the nation as a whole to pay a bit more attention, we should never have stopped.

We know, as a people that it is not necessarily a Muslim extremist, it may be a “home-grown” terrorist or someone who has “snapped”. It is the world we live in now, where we have to notice threatening behavior and pay attention to something as normal as a backpack, abandoned or being thrown away – even when where supposed to be having fun.

This is especially true in light of what we know about the Boston Marathon. Security was tight, there were bomb sniffing dogs, (and since there are few reports of other’s spotting the dogs and police presence), it is likely that the mere prescreens was enough to placate everyone. (To those who might feel there was a conspiracy afoot.) We are Israel; we need to be aware, and to go about enjoying the lives we lead, in the face of constant threats from zealots or crazy people. (Really both one in the same.)

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