J.D. Tuccille on the Security State and Institutionalized Fear


Boston Marathon security
The National Guard/Foter

One year after a bloody bombing that made international headlines, the Boston Athletic Association, organizer of the Boston Marathon, was blunt about the new environment surrounding what was once a fun outing. "Spectators approaching viewing areas on the course, or in viewing areas on the course, may be asked to pass through security checkpoints, and law enforcement officers or contracted private security personnel may ask to inspect bags and other items being carried." Similar measures are appearing at many of America's high-profile events and public places.

But the move toward checkpoints and bans may be precisely the wrong response to a rare, but fluid danger, writes J.D. Tuccille. Armed police can't protect every possible target. Empowering people to respond to rare terrorist attacks may be safer, and allow us to live without institutionalized fear.