What was your reaction to the recent terrorism at the Boston Marathon?
Did you wonder why?
Did you ask, “What’s this world coming to?”
Did you think, “How could anybody do something like this?”
Are you more surprised this tragedy happened or surprised that it doesn’t happen more often at sporting events?
The reactions vary, but answers to these manmade tragedies are few, and it reaffirms the depravity of man.
We live in a sinful world where evil continually rears its ugly head.
Truth be told, terrorism at sporting events is relatively rare. Perhaps the most brazen and infamous act of terrorism in sports took place when Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
Since that time, security has been increased considerably and has become a primary concern of event organizers. For the 2012 Olympics in London, security spending topped $1.6 billion.
As bad as the deaths and injuries were at the Boston Marathon, they could have been much, much worse. Visualize what might have been if the explosions had occurred at the beginning of the marathon when thousands of runners and spectators are bunched together.
No doubt it’s difficult to stop evil intentions in a race that spreads out more than 26 miles. Yet, counting the attack at the Boston Marathon, there have only been seven terrorist attacks on marathons. And only one was more lethal than the Boston bombing.
The only other sports terrorist attack in America that I’m aware of is the 1996 Olympic Park bombing that killed two and wounded more than 100 people. Those attacks are separated by nearly 17 years.
According to Clay Travis, fewer than 100 people have ever been killed by terrorist attacks at sporting events. That’s somewhat surprising.
Writing the day after the Boston Marathan violence, he wrote: “Lots of people are understandably shaken by yesterday’s event, but over the past hundred years worldwide you’ve been infinitely more likely to fall to death inside a stadium than you have been to be the victim of terrorism.
“Alcohol poisoning has killed infinitely more fans. Scores more people have died driving to and from sporting events. Amazingly, despite the frequent and massive gatherings of sports fans around the world, attending a sporting event is one of the safest things a large group of people can do in America.”
Perhaps one of the reasons we’re relatively safe is because of precautions taken by organizers of sporting events.
Security has even been ramped up at high school basketball games in Wichita in recent years. Nowadays, fans have to walk through metal detectors when attending some City League basketball games.
Unfortunately as we’ve seen, anybody with an evil intent and who chooses to inflict casualties on society has a good chance of succeeding. Maybe the best we can do is make things as difficult as possible for them without making security plans that are too intrusive for the majority of law-abiding citizens. It’s admittedly a tough balancing act.
One interesting result may be a shift in public opinion tolerating the use of security cameras in public places, including sidewalks.
The recent events in Boston remind us that fighting terrorism will be very much like the event it disrupted—a marathon.