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In today’s world, sports are and have always been a way for people to unwind after a tough day at work, or simply follow their favorite athlete as he/she progresses throughout their career. People are able to live vicariously through their favorite teams because it gives them hope during times of need.
This is no different in Boston. Being one of the top cities in the United States for professional sports makes the city of Boston a key target for people who desire to inflict mass casualties and cause utter terror among its citizens. This was seen during the 2013 Boston Marathon, where two radical extremist brothers used pressure cooker bombs to inflict serious injury to 260 people and also take the lives of 3 innocent people (and a fourth days later). In the wake of this tragic event, the residents along with first responders in Boston were able to come together and be able to put an end to this particular crisis.
With that being said, one question that comes up is how safe is safe when it comes to these events. Normally, certain sporting events like the World Series or Super Bowl have increased security but where do we draw the line. Prior to April 15, 2013, no one imagined that the Boston Marathon would be a target for terrorism activity. As a criminal justice professional, it’s important to understand where to draw the line and be able to have an emergency action plan well in advance in case of such an event.
One such article from Boston.com discusses an interview with Governor Deval Patrick regarding the impact of last year’s events at the Boston Marathon and how it shaped how we operate today. It also covers the fact that individuals who plan to attend the event will be subjected to increased security measures similar to that of an airport based environment including metal detectors, for example. Society as a whole must be willing to make certain sacrifices that will benefit society as a whole and that includes giving up certain freedoms. Patrick even goes as far as saying that “it’s the safest place in America” and that there will be an increased presence of law enforcement officials along the route of the Marathon. Despite the events of the Boston Marathon, there was an influx of people who came forward immediately after the bombings and provided assistance when others were running away. ESPN recently aired a piece on the anniversary of the bombing, which detailed the selfless acts of such individuals as Carlos Arrendondo and former New England Patriot Joe Andruzzi, who are both captured in notable photographs displaying their acts of heroism in the face of danger.
The events of the 117th Boston marathon and the bombing, despite the tragedy, brought the city together on many different levels. The biggest display of respect and unity occurred that night at the Bruins game where Rene Rancourt led the fans in an emotional rendition of the National Anthem. Additionally, this was also seen during the Red Sox home opener a few days later where David Ortiz gave his infamous speech. Both of these provided the residents of Boston and New England with an overall sense of hope and promise that no matter what happens, they will come together and overcome any difficult obstacle that they face. However, personal security is most important here and people must be able to recognize that they might have to change the way that people operate at professional sporting events.
Finally to summarize, the issue of security at sporting events is an ongoing problem and will change how professional sports organizations operate during major events in the wake of such incidents as the Boston Marathon bombing. Law enforcement must take the necessary steps to work with private organizations in order to ensure that they can provide a safe environment for all attending an event, but on the other hand the general population must recognize what security measures are involved and plan accordingly with any potential changes to their usual routine. It’s important for everyone to recognize what is important and be able to adjust their way of life in order to accommodate the interests of others.
There’s no such thing as too much security, and public safety trumps personal interest