One of my favorite runs in the world is the loop along the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge — connecting MIT, Harvard, BU, and Back Bay, if you run the long version. That’s but a few blocks away from where yesterday’s attack happened.
I’ve never run the Boston Marathon. During the day, I was joking with a friend there about who was how far from qualifying. I didn’t quite say “there’s a challenge to compete on, let’s run it next year”, mostly because I didn’t think I’d be in shape to make that challenge — I’ve never actually run a marathon, and the few half marathons I’ve done were well above 2h. No way I’d qualify.
A few hours later, the news hit twitter.
We quickly established that some MIT-based colleagues who had been helping with the communication infrastructure around the run were taken care of. A former colleague who used to run the marathon wasn’t in town this year. That was good news. And then, the fog of terror: Was a fire at the JFK library related? (didn’t seem so) Had more bombs been found, or not (none found)? Had the cell phone networks been shut down? (probably not, also: probably a bad idea) Classical media didn’t do much better than the social media rumor mill. Some news sites were down, given all the traffic.
On the day after, the news is full of security taking over, and full of reactions and worries around the world. How can we make sports events secure?
And there is that urge to say something, anything, when one really doesn’t have anything to say — for example, this blog post.
Bruce Schneier has it right: keep calm and carry on. We mustn’t let fear take over public spaces, or our thinking.
Here’s hoping that, next year, the Boston Marathon will be even harder to get into, because more people will want to run it.