Saturday, 4 May 2013

Toronto Marathon organizers warn participants and spectators to 'be vigilant' during this weekend's race!



Today, I bring you an interesting article, verbatim by Rachel Mendleson, a news reported for the Toronto Star, entitled, 'Toronto marathon expected to draw big crowds despite Boston bombings. Marathon organizers warn participants and spectators to 'be vigilant' during this weekend's race. '.  My response is below with room for your comment below that, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

"Immediately following the Boston Marathon bombings, several concerned parents called Toronto marathon organizer Jay Glassman and withdrew their kids from volunteer roles in the upcoming event. But a few days later, Glassman says, he heard from them again. They asked him to put their children’s names back on the list.

“Given some time to think about it, they realized that life’s got to go on,” he said. “You can’t give in.”
More than 12,000 runners and 1,000 volunteers are expected to participate in the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon on Sunday, where Glassman predicts that there could be as many as 60,000 spectators spread across the length of the course.

And rather than deter athletes and supporters, he says the tragedy in Boston has galvanized Toronto’s tight-knit running community “The community, almost in defiance of what happened, will come together stronger and better than before,” Glassman said.

The memory of Boston, not yet a month old, will be palpable at the event, from the minutes of silence planned at Mel Lastman Square at the start of each race to the “Remember Boston” patches on every bib.
On the marathon’s website, organizers are urging runners and spectators to “be vigilant,” and notify police or race officials “should you notice anything suspicious.”

For security reasons, Glassman declined to discuss any special precautions that are planned for this weekend’s event, but described security measures as “status quo.” In past years, between 250 and 300 paid-duty police officers have provided security for the event, Glassman said. Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash would not say if that number will rise this weekend, or confirm whether security arrangements have changed in any way, but he said there is currently “no increase in threat levels” in the city.

“We’re always monitoring any threats against the city. We tweak our security arrangements when that’s necessary,” Pugash said. Security, however, is not a worry for Julie Yip, who will be running her first full marathon on Sunday. Yip, who manages the York Mills location of the Running Room, said she has “never heard anyone express concern” about the upcoming race.

“If anything, it’s like, ‘We’re going to show them,’” said Yip, who plans to wear a blue and yellow ribbon during the race to show her support for Boston. Kevin Smith, who travelled from Toronto to run the Boston Marathon, and was in a pub a block past the finish line when the explosions went off, has registered for the half-marathon this weekend.

Smith said his body is still healing from the wear-and-tear of the recent marathon. But if possible, he will run on Sunday. “People are really gathering together and celebrating being runners,” he said. “There’s a need to get out there with other runners. We feel like there’s safety in numbers — safety with brethren.”

my response.....
                                                    Runners at a Toronto Marathon!

While it is certainly understandable that several concerned parents called a Toronto marathon organizer to withdrew their kids from volunteer roles in the upcoming event, their action proves that folks are not convinced that our politicians are taking Terrorist threats seriously! In his book, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Lawrence Wright provides a historical account of the people, ideas and events leading up to Terrorist attacks, specifically the 9/11 terrorist attack. This book was so well received that it was a New York Times bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction in 2007.  The question is...why didn't our politicians learn enough from this cowardly attack on innocent civilians to save lives in Boston?

Today, in the post-9/11 world, superlative law enforcement capabilities we saw on display by the FBI, Mass State troopers and Boston Police were in full evidence for the world to see at the Boston Bombing, but North American, yes Americans and Canadians need and deserve a combined law enforcement establishment that emphasizes other capabilities, which in my view, were not much in evidence leading up to the bomb blasts that fateful Monday afternoon in Boston.

                                                      Runners at aother Toronto Marathon!

Now, more than ever, we need our politicians to enable law enforcement to place a premium on three related capabilities: detection, assessment and warning.

Detection: Identifying potential threats and discriminating between potential threats and non-threats.

Assessment: Confirming, characterizing and prioritizing threats.

Warning: Remaining in front of the public’s need for information and for physical safety.

From the mountain of video and still images now available on the internet, it appears the alleged two bombers were in the vicinity of the finish line for at least ONE HOUR, carrying heavy backpacks prior to detonating their bombs.

                                                        Runners at a Vancouver Marathon!

One could make a strong case that by employing 'video analytic' software available today, a trained surveillance operator with access to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, (TIDE is the Government's central database on known or suspected international terrorists containing highly classified information) may have detected the two suspects as potential threats and alerted police on the ground to approach them to make an assessment. Ask yourself, could  this have prevented the cold-blooded murder of an MIT officer?

It has already been reported that one of the dead Boston marathon bombing suspects was added to a CIA terror database a FULL EIGHTEEN MONTHS before the attack. Instead, what we saw, after the bombs were detonated, was the deployment of millions of dollars worth of equipment which, in the end, helped bring down these alleged terrorists but was of little value to detect and assess threats and warn citizens BEFORE the attack.   

                                                 What can happen when a bomb explodes!

I have the highest respect and praise for the brave law enforcement professionals, who, through their selfless and heroic efforts, prevented even greater loss of life but politicians on both sides of the border need to rebuff efforts by terrorist apologists and enact legislation that will enable law enforcement priorities to be more proactive, and waiting until after the next terrorist attack on a VIA Train or another soft target should not be an option!


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 Toronto Marathon organizers warn participants and ... 
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