New Castle News

All About You ...

April 22, 2013

Mitchel Olszak: Terrorists strive to create fear

NEW CASTLE — The finish line of a road race serves as the division between one world and another.

Ahead of the finish line, there is structure and discipline, with attention paid to the runners as they cross over. Spectators are kept back, mainly to avoid interfering with the participants — and perhaps to keep them from being trampled.

Once they finish a race, runners are herded quickly through a chute to keep the proper order. Or else — courtesy of modern technology — their times are recorded by chips attached to their shoes.

From that point, the race is over, and participants are left mostly to their own devices. They may get a medical assessment if finish line crews detect a problem. But for the most part, they just wander off, perhaps to catch up with family and friends who may be milling about the area.

That, in a nutshell, was the scene a week ago when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The explosives apparently were set to target people in the area, rather than the runners.

At the time, no one seemed to have noticed two men identified as suspects put down backpacks and walk away. No surprise there. At a marathon, there will be lots of people with backpacks and other bags carrying spare clothing, drinks, food, etc. And plenty of other things are happening at the time to draw the attention of race workers.

I note these things as someone who has participated in more races than I can recall, including multiple marathons. I have volunteered at races and directed them. I know the drill.

In these roles, looking for bombs was never on my list of things to do. And it still makes little sense. What gain, even in the mind of a fanatical terrorist, comes from killing and maiming people as they mill about the finish line of a foot race?

As I write this, one suspect in the Boston bombing has been killed and another is being pursued. In the coming days, we will learn much more about them and their mindsets. Perhaps even something akin to a motive will be identified.

There’s a good chance it will be discovered that the marathon was targeted more as a convenience than any sort of a strategy by two angry young men seeking only to lash out. They lived in the area and perhaps knew they could gain access to the finish line with minimal effort. But they apparently didn’t grasp that the real risk in their plot would come after videos of the scene were viewed.

A few months ago, in the wake of a massacre of children at a Connecticut school, I wrote that the inevitable increase in security wouldn’t end violence. It would just shift it to other soft targets.

In many ways, the finish line of a road race is very soft.

Maybe it won’t be that way any more. Maybe there will be new restrictions, more extensive security. Or maybe many races that are financially marginal will just go away.

That would be unfortunate, and not just for runners. I suspect that people — of all ideological ilk who are prone to violence — see the restrictive response to acts of terrorism. To them, it’s an enticement to commit their own acts.

But reports that came out of Boston the day of the bombing dealt more with average people rushing to the area and doing all they could to assist the victims. It was a statement of courage in the face of terrorism, rather than fear.

That’s the real response to terrorism. The more we turn America and its facilities into armed camps, the more victories we give to those who espouse violence

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
All About You ...
  • Hudson.jpg Culinary Conversation: Think globally, cook locally

    Another set of bookshelves might be necessary at my house very soon. It’s been a bountiful week. Edie Majesky of New Castle, who I have known most of my life, is aware of how much I love collecting old cookbooks.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ramsey.jpg Dave Says: Problems with no credit score?

    “Dave Says” is a weekly column featuring financial advice from nationally syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey. His column is filled with timely, relevant questions and answers taken from actual letters and calls on Ramsey’s radio progam, “The Dave Ramsey Show.”
     

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brothers.jpg Lori Brothers: Play with names — not with your food

    Do you remember being told, “don’t play with your food” when you were a child?  Or maybe you’ve said this to your own children or grandchildren. I’ve heard stories about kids slipping food under the table to the dog or stuffing Brussels sprouts into their pockets to get out of the pain of eating them.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • stright.jpg Sarah Stright-Hartley: A T-shirt dress can be a three for all

    I love finding pieces that can be worn for just about every portion of my life.  From daytime, to work, and then on a date with my husband, I like pieces that can go the distance.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ivy_bday.jpg Kali Davies-Anderson: Happy birthday, Miss Ivy!

    This week I would like to take time out of my usual ramblings to wish my second born daughter, Ivy, a very, very happy first birthday!

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Olszak.jpg Heartbleed raises the stakes on Internet security

    My column last week dealt with Internet and related scams, along with steps people can take to protect themselves. Today’s column could be termed Part 2 of that topic, albeit from a different angle.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hudson.jpg Lugene Hudson: Celebrate Easter like Helen Martin

    What’s cookin? That’s one of our favorite questions at Culinary Conversation. We love when readers share some of their favorites. This week, Helen Martin of New Castle stepped up to the plate to answer that question regarding Easter dinners.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ramsey.jpg Dave Ramsey: You can’t borrow way out of debt

    “Dave Says” is a weekly column featuring financial advice from nationally syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey. His column is filled with timely, relevant questions and answers taken from actual letters and calls on Ramsey’s radio progam, “The Dave Ramsey Show.”
     

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brothers.jpg Lori Brothers: Wellness a growing trend among those over 50

    The power of choice that the explosion of Internet information has generated is moving us as a culture in a direction to examine who we are and what we really value.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • stright.jpg Sarah Stright-Hartley: Some perfect fits for heading back to work

    I'm heading back to work soon and I've really been thinking about my work wardrobe — especially because I'm hoping most of it still fits my post-baby body.

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

House Ads
Poll

What is your favorite Easter treat?

Jelly beans
Chocolate ... bunnies, crosses, anything that’s chocolate!
Marshmallow peeps
Decorated eggs
Other
     View Results