The Safety Of Marathons

Lydia DePillis argues that marathons are impossible to secure completely. Alyssa thinks tight security “would fundamentally change the nature of marathoning for both participants and spectators”:

As Erin Gloria Ryan wrote for Jezebel, much of the value of these events is in the interaction between large numbers of runners and large numbers of viewers in close proximity to them. “The spectators — people who show up and cheer with noisemakers and high fives and encouraging cheers and magic-markered tagboard signs that read “YOU ALL ARE CRAZY! KEEP RUNNING!”— are the people who matter most to runners,” she explained. ” Without those people, a marathon would just be an exercise in self-abuse from a large group of crazies. But there is meaning in marathoning: the people who watch.”

Russell Saunders zooms out and observes “the ironic failure of terrorism”:

It shouldn’t be an act of courage to dine out in Tel Aviv. It’s shouldn’t be an act of courage to buy groceries in Baghdad. It shouldn’t be an act of courage to earn your paycheck in a skyscraper in Manhattan.

And then it becomes one.

Which is the ironic failure of terrorism. Because of course people will continue to dine out in Tel Aviv and go to market in Baghdad and step on the elevator in New York City. Where previously they did so without thinking, now they do so in a quietly defiant way. Because people will refuse to obey the dictates of the depraved and craven, and will go on living their lives. They will locate the courage within themselves. They will keep running marathons.

Bruce Schneier’s words of advice:

The damage from terrorism is primarily emotional. To the extent this terrorist attack succeeds has very little do with the attack itself. It’s all about our reaction. We must refuse to be terrorized. Imagine if the bombs were found and moved at the last second, and no one died, but everyone was just as scared. The terrorists would have succeeded anyway. If you are scared, they win. If you refuse to be scared, they lose, no matter how much carnage they commit.