Boston Marathon Attendee: ‘I’ll Be Looking Over My Shoulder’ to Stay Safe

A regular Boston Marathon attendee explains how he’ll take in the Boston Marathon three years removed from the bombings at the finish line.

After two brothers used pressure cooker bombs to kill three people and injure dozens more near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, organizers of that race and other similar ones around the U.S. and across the world have focused on increasing safety procedures for their events.

Law enforcement authorities recently outlined their security preparations for the 120th Boston Marathon, set for April 18. The plan, which took about six months to develop, will involve almost 5,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers who will monitor the 26.2-mile route from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston by land and air.

Officials have prepared for a number of potential security threats, such as an active shooter or a suicide bomber, according to a Boston Globe report. Authorities also plan to monitor social media closely in hopes of heading off potential attacks.

On race day, the State Police Air Wing will fly over the course, while law enforcement officers – both in uniform and plainclothes – will be on patrol, according to the Boston Globe. Security cameras will be positioned along the way, officials said, and spectators should expect to have to go through several security checkpoints, particularly near the starting line and finish line.

“The security of the race route is our priority,” said State Police Colonel Richard McKeown in the Globe report.

I’ve certainly let my guard down a bit in the three years since the Boston Marathon bombings, but I try to make sure everything I do is done with an eye toward protecting myself and those who come with me to Red Sox games, concerts and even airports.

The Boston Police Department will also have a full complement of officers on hand, said Deputy Superintendent Bill Ridge, who urged spectators to attend the race and promised a “very large uniformed police presence.”

Related: Jury Convicts Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

I’ll be at the finish line for this year’s Boston Marathon, but I won’t lie – I’ll be looking over my shoulder a bit and vigilant in steering clear of people and situations that look unsavory or potentially dangerous. That’s become my way of life since the 2013 Marathon bombings and will likely be how I behave in large crowds and major public events from now on.

I’ve certainly let my guard down a bit in the three years since the Tsarnaev brothers sent our region into panic mode with their cowardly deeds, but I try to make sure everything I do is done with an eye toward protecting myself and those who come with me to Red Sox games, concerts and even airports. It’s just the way we have to live today, and if having my bag screened or removing my belt can help keep me safer, I’m all for it.

Yes, it’s an inconvenience and can slow me down when I’m running late for my flight or behind someone in line who decides to take a stand against what they consider invasion of privacy, but these days, we have to do what we can to discourage and prevent people who want to hurt innocent bystanders.

I’ll probably be a little bit nervous as I get closer to the Boston Marathon finish line next week, but I’m comfortable in knowing this well-thought-out security plan not only includes all the measures outlined here, but many that no one will ever know are in place. I don’t let fear of what could happen control my life, but that doesn’t mean I ignore the potential dangers around me either.

(Note: This story was first published on SSI sister publication Commercial Integrator.)

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