Boston: Think It Can’t Happen To You?

Security experts will be able to help with this. For example, we can limit access points and channel them so that every person entering an event goes through some level of scrutiny, from visual to physical, depending on the need.

Some might say that having to do this means the criminals and terrorists have won, that they have achieved their goal of squelching our freedoms.

To some degree that may be true; anyone who has gone through airport security has experienced that. However, there are ways of protecting the innocent from bad guys without either even knowing.

Use of security cameras to watch crowds is one way; security experts may be able to spot criminal activity and stop it. If they see a nervous-looking individual carrying what appears to be an unusually bulging and heavy bag, they may want to have a talk with that person.

There are those who may say this is an invasion of privacy, or that it is “profiling.” Well, yeah, it is; but the alternative is potentially being in the middle of a horror like the Boston event. If that sort of surveillance can prevent it, I’m all for it.

So, what do the parks and rec planners have to say? I’d be very interested to hear from you, and others may benefit from your perspective.

My heart goes out to the families of those killed and to the injured and their families — and to the event planners who will live with the tragedy, as well. My hope is that we can take measures to never let it happen again, anywhere.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine who also served for 15 years in municipal parks and recreation, is now a full-time photojournalist who lives in Peachtree City, Ga.; he can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email

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3 comments on “Boston: Think It Can’t Happen To You?

  1. billy moore on said:

    The event has left me stunned as it has everyone. I have thought of what you are saying a lot in the last couple of days. Actually a lot since the theater and school shootings. We are a budget strapped small community department. I go to our programs and feel so great that our programs have reached a level of sportsmanship I am very proud of. But these events scare the heck out of us all. What is the answer? I am sure security was high at the Boston Marathon. What amount of security would prevent these happenings? Can we secure every event and protect everyone? As a country we need to weigh this out carefully. It CAN happen anywhere. There does need to be swift, extreme and severe consequences for the perpetrators. Ones that don’t drag out for years. When someone kills and injures people like these terrorist They need to go. I have no answer at this point.

    • Randy on said:

      Billy, there are no easy answers. Vigilance is the price we pay for freedom and our freedom is under assault. Situational awareness, making sure all staff members are watching for and reporting unusual or suspicious activity – and having a reporting system that works. Many times it is municipal staff who catch first wind of something going down and if they report it promptly, and if it is responded to appropriately, it could avert an incident and save lives. Terrorism, whether foreign or domestic – is a very difficult thing to defend against, but it is also a crime like any other and if citizens are out there keeping an eye on their communities, it can be defeated. Thanks for the comments…Randy

  2. Jill Korsok on said:

    Great article, Randy. I agree wholeheartedly that while we can always hope for the best and that our events, no matter how large or small, will be exempt from risk, it is much better to plan ahead and communicate that plan to everyone involved. From damaging weather to something as tragic as the Boston event, there is no harm in planning for a worse case scenario; there can be enormous ramifications, and harm, if there is no plan of action.

    I am confident the marathon planning team and Boston security forces had a plan in place because the aftermath was handled immediately and with precision. Lives were saved as a result and I congratulate them.

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