Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 21, 2014

“We were Boston Strong, because we were Boston Ready”

Filed under: General Homeland Security,Resilience,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Arnold Bogis on April 21, 2014

Today, nine thousand more people are running the Boston Marathon than last year.  Officials expect over one million spectators – roughly double the average. Hotels have been booked for months, and people looking to volunteer have been turned away for weeks due to the crush of applicants.

I take a couple of points away from this and all the other outpouring of support for today’s race, runners, and the Greater Boston area:

  • To steal NSFW terminology from Big Papi, this is basically a big fuck you to terrorism.  It doesn’t work if people aren’t scared, and the people of Boston, Massachusetts, and runners and spectators from across this country and world are obviously not scared.
  • Not only do Bostonians (and Cantabrigians and Watertown-ians(?) and etc.) not scare easily, Americans in general do not scare easily.  So I hope pundits leave behind flawed concerns that the unprecedented shelter-in-place order on the Friday following the Marathon bombings was a sign of underlying weakness rather than determined strength born out of  in-the-moment operational necessity.
  • We as a society are resilient.  Yes, there are significant concerns about infrastructure and emerging threats.  Things can and should be improved across a range of sectors and issue areas.   However, I simply have not read nor heard convincing proof that our current society is any less resilient than in decades past.  Stephen Flynn I’m looking at you. Instead, we live in a different world with different vulnerabilities but also different strengths.

Leading up to today, there has been much said about the potential of missed clues or signals that could have led authorities to prevent this attack.  There has also been much shared about the resilience of those directly affected by the bombings. Rightly so.

I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t admit to being a little concerned.  The medical response to the attack has been lauded.  It has not been sufficiently explained.  It should not be taken for granted.

The concept of a “dry run disaster” has been advertised.  Lessons learned from the Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Israeli experience have been explored. It is easy to point out that the explosions occurred yards away from a medical tent, and that Boston is blessed with an overabundance of world class hospitals just minutes away from the scene.

Yet the underlying strength of the Boston response originated from years of planning, practice, and collaboration.  Similar examples of which are difficult to find across our nation. Boston was, and is, strong because it has, and continues to, work on preparedness.

Boston Strong because Boston Ready.

This should be noted and shared.

All I have to offer in addition is a few suggestions:

  • The Federal goverment, both the Administration and Congress, should increase funding to such programs as the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) that aims to instill the cross-sector collaboration that was so successful in Boston.  It would also be nice if top Administration officials not only talked about resilience but actually did something to drive actual change in their departments.
  • State and local governments should embrace the “whole of community” approach.  This would require that first responders embrace the possibility of a robust civilian response in their plans, as well as encouraging cooperation among private stakeholders.
  • Those private stakeholders, hospitals and healthcare systems and etc., should understand that cooperation and collaboration with others should not be viewed as a net loss on the ledger books, but as an overall positive contribution to their business model.
  • And finally, the individuals among us should realize that having health insurance is a good thing.  Not unduly burdening the emergency medical system during times of unexpected stress, such as the Marathon bombing, could save lives. Learning what to do to help our neighbors would be even better.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Recently, NBC’s “Meet the Press” aired a segment on “Boston Strong: The Marathon Bombing, One Year Later.”

You can watch a video of it here: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/boston-bombing-anniversary/boston-strong-marathon-bombing-one-year-later-n79161

It was a round table discussion with an audience of Boston first responders.  The individual making the incisive observation I took as the title of this post was Senator Ed Markey.  His full quote:

And, you know, we were prepared. We were Boston Strong, because we were Boston Ready. The city was ready. And the commissioner has a lot to do with that. The people who were here. There was a lot of cooperation at the local level. And then we needed the bravery of people then to respond on that day. And they did. And the resilience of people afterwards.

He makes a subtle and often overlooked point.

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3 Comments »

Comment by Christopher Tingus

April 21, 2014 @ 7:58 am

From Boston – 21st April 2014:

“Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families.” — Benjamin Rush, (1773)

“The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. — Patrick Henry

Tonight the American flag floats from yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!” — John Stark at the Battle of Bennington in 1777

“The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny mediated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world, that a free man contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.” — George Washington, 1776

Here in good ‘ol Beantown, early from the Lexington Green or at the Concord bridge reenactment or rereading the quotes this morning in celebration of the brave, the courageous this Patriot’s Day 2014 and proud and most appreciative of those who willingly stood against those seeking our enslavement and our demise, We are Boston Strong….

We are Boston Strong not only because it seems that everyone is related to a Boston cop or firefighter, but We have a real sense of community, proud to be Bostonians and New Englanders, singing loudly and with our hand over our heart singing the National Anthem and knowing our history and damn proud of so many who have given so much to enable us to be free men and to pursue our dreams understanding that w/education and commitment in diligent effort, much reward can be derived and as a nation most charitable like none other to fellow human being, knowing that government has a role, yet it is We in the community which must reach out to another with strong handclasp to help another less fortunate….

We must read and understand the following words of wisdom at a time when this present executive WH and Congress, no matter political party, fail to enforce the laws of our Judeo-Christian nation and intentionally seek their self-serving ways in enslaving so many by an ever imposing government which affords little and true representation, much like what the King imposed and led to man’s uprising:

“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” — Ben Franklin, 1766

As witness to so many first responders coming from miles and miles away to help those so brutally attacked as merely innocent folks, preparedness – Yes – and God Bless each and everyone of our first responders who I would give my Life up to protect as these men and women do for us every day, however I truly perceive it is an inherent pride in many of us conveyed so by our forefathers who with love for God and passion, strength in principles and tireless tenacity and persistence, the motivation to achieve contrary to the indolent, forged this great nation with sweat and the willingness to use such attributes as innovation and entrepreneurial zeal and our beloved Republic and to many of us as Bostonians, attentive to their lessons and the chapters in history and in reading Biblical verse and took notice thereof of the acts and actions which forged this great nation!

We know too well the many who see our demise and we understand that a Democracy must have a strong arsenal and vigilant at all times – this is our watch and we are the stewards of our city and our America and fly ‘ol Glory with much pride thanking all those who serve our nation in the past and present….

We are proud Bostonians and Americans as seen by the many depictions….We stood with musket in hand against those seeking to enslave us and We shall stand forthright as we do for Constitution, country and those left behind at the “Benghazi Massacre” who we will never forget and

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” — Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence

“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Ben Franklin, 1759

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” — Nathan Hale’s last words….

“I have not yet begun to fight!” — John Paul Jones
“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.” — John Paul Jones, 1778

“One of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one’s house. A man’s house is his castle.” — James Otis, 1761

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their county; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny like hell is not easily conquered yet we have this consolation with us, the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” — Tom Paine after the Declaration of Independence

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” — Tom Paine

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” — Tom Paine, 1776

“We began a contest for liberty ill provided with the means for the war, relying on our patriotism to supply the deficiency. We expected to encounter many wants and distressed… we must bear the present evils and fortitude…” — George Washington in 1781

God Bless our great nation and good ‘ol Glory and fellow neighbors and friends, the most charitable People -

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
Po Box 1612
Harwich (cape Cod), MA 02645 USA
chris.tingus@gmail.com
http://www.bigdiglifevest.com

Kindly note the words of samuel Adams in (1775):

“No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they be easily subdued, when knowledge is wide spread and Virtue is preserved. on the Contrary, when People are unwisely ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without Aid of foreign invaders” -

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 21, 2014 @ 9:25 am

Thanks Arnold and Chris for post and comment!

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