Boston Marathon Boston Marathon bombing crime prevention personal safety at public events pressure cooker bombs

What can we do to avert another bombing?

The possibility of another bombing taking place in the near future seems likely when you consider how easy it is to build a pressure cooker bomb as CFN reported yesterday, and a Newsday article indicates that while the bombs used in Boston may have been more sophisticated than originally reported, the components are all commercially available.

Officer Mike Montmorency and his bomb sniffing dog stand by at the start of the Salt Lake City Marathon. Due to the Boston bombing security was dramatically increased, and spectators were asked to leave backpacks at home Credits:   George Frey/Getty Images
Officer Mike Montmorency and his bomb sniffing dog stand by at the start of the Salt Lake City Marathon. Due to the Boston bombing security was dramatically increased, and spectators were asked to leave backpacks at home
Credits: George Frey/Getty Images

You will no longer go to a race to compete or cheer on your friends or family without worrying that an unattended backpack lying nearby might contain a bomb.

Photos taken at the scene of the blast, and released by the Joint Terrorism Task Force of Boston, indicate that a pressure cooker packed with nails and ball bearings and hidden inside a backpack was used in the explosions. These low-tech explosive devices can be made from household items found in your local hardware store and instructions on how to build these deadly devices are available on the internet.

Security will be tight at future races, but how do you secure an entire course, especially at a marathon?

CNN addressed the difficulties of securing such events.  “It’s extremely challenging because it’s not a secure environment,” said police Cmdr. Noah Johnson of Tempe, Arizona, where an annual charity run in honor of slain Army Ranger Pat Tillman was held Saturday.
“We can’t put fences around it; we can’t put an officer every 2 feet,” he said. “So we rely on every set of eyes out there.”

Living in a free society does not come without risk so as citizens of that free society we are going to have to step up and start taking more responsibility for our safety.  We have to be those extra sets of eyes.

What can you do to help avert another bombing like the one in Boston?

1. Develop your awareness.  The best defense against these types of bombings is an awareness of your surroundings.  Make the act of paying attention to your surroundings and what is going on around you something you practice everyday, not just for weeks or months after a catastrophic event.

2. “If You See Something, Say Something™” If you see something suspicious taking place then report that behavior or activity to local law enforcement or in the case of emergency call 9-1-1.  Unattended backpacks, bags, and suitcases in a public place or someone trying to break into a restricted area should be reported immediately. 

3. Don’t be afraid to speak up.  Is that your backpack?  Asking a simple question like that may sound intrusive, but it could save lives.  The inconvenience caused by a false alarm pales in comparison to the damage done if the bag explodes.

4. Know where safety lies.  You should think about where and how you will exit a building or area before something bad happens.  Where are the exits?  “Always looking for a way out” is what Linda Simmons of Douglasville, Georgia, calls it. But it’s not just Boston that’s put her in that mindset. It’s the September 11 terror attacks. The bloodbath last year at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. The Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings.  “All of it, everything that’s happened,” she said.

5. Get clear of the area.  If you see an unattended bag, backpack or someone stuffing a backpack-sized bag into a garbage can get clear and report it.  If you survive a bomb explosion get out of the area immediately and take your bags with you. 

You can sign up for Act in Self Defense classes at: http://www.fonsecamartialarts.com/self-defense

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your high school, college, business, or organization contact me at ekress@ameritech.net.

Ed Kress
For over 35 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. Along with local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed has developed a program which focuses on teaching personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains as well as their bodies. Ed began his martial arts career when he started wrestling in 8th grade, taking 1st place in the Chicago Park District City Championships. He later wrestled varsity at Mendel Catholic High School where he was a Chicago Catholic League Conference Champion. During his college career at North Park University he was a Conference Champion and 2-time NCAA Div 3 national qualifier. He was on his way to qualifying for the 3rd time when a neck injury ended his college career. His record that year was 17 - 0. He continues to wrestle as Head Freshman Wrestling Coach at Loyola Academy. A position he has held since 2004.
http://www.actinselfdefense.com

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