Threats and Hazards: Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Bombing in Summary

It was April 15, 2013, when it happened. As usual, the third Monday of April is often Patriot’s Day and Boston Marathon is held in respect to the day. The day would not end as usual. Towards the end of the race, two bombs were detonated near the finish line and as a result, three people were killed and more than 260 were injured. After a strong and charged hunt, the perpetrators were identified and a hunt for them ensued. It was Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who were legal immigrants from Chechnya. The two young men were found to have no connection to any extremist group but were found to be in support of radical Islamic beliefs. One of the suspects, Tamerlan, was wounded in a police encounter and died later in hospital. Dzhokhar was charged in court and was finally sentenced to death. Other suspects in relation to the bombing were nabbed and presented to the court for justice to take its course. 

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Impact of Boston Marathon Bombing on Homeland Security

The bombing could not produce the kind of changes like the ones instituted after the 9/11. The bombing, especially due to the fact that the whole event was not tied to a group of extremists, could be treated as a lone wolf attack. CBA News quoted Steven MacMartin who was a former senior special agent with the Department of Homeland Security saying, “It’s not 9/11, and you are not going to see the kind of changes you saw after 9/11”. Lone wolf attacks are difficult to theorize or predict their coming. Prior to the bombing, it was discovered that the two brothers went to their original country- Chechnya in 2012 for an extended stay. It was possible that they received training on bomb-making and other violent ideas, which they imported back to the United States. With this in mind, the Department of Homeland Security has some important cues to pick from this case. 

First, there should be sufficient information exchange among immigration agencies. The departing of the brothers to a country that has had a militarized history, and extending their stay should have raised alarm and sufficient monitoring measures conducted upon their return. Though the immigration agencies were able to piece and disseminate information faster than usual in identifying the brothers, it was rather late since the event had already occurred. 

The spotting of lone wolves is highly complicated and stopping them is next to impossible. As such, the Department of Homeland Security should develop deterrent measures that dissuade people with such ideas from actualizing them. This is particularly important in that it is possible to have 100 percent control in a country the size of the U.S. and it is possible for something to slip through such gaps. Therefore, having deterrent measures is something that would have far-reaching consequences, which would effectively stop evil-minded people from executing their plans.  

The event changed the way DHS handles major events across the country. The event demonstrated that a small security lapse can be detrimental if exploited by individuals with intent. Two young men with the intent to wreak havoc through training and meticulous planning conducted a raid on American peace with precision. The events should not be allowed to pass without lessons. As a result, DHS should be arriving earlier to ensure that places holding mass events are secured and no loophole exists to the advantage of terrorists. 

Risks Revealed in the Bombing Event

The major risk that was unearthed by the Boston Marathon Bombing activity is the risk lone wolves pose to this country. The lone wolf syndrome is learned from the immediate surroundings mostly social, international events, or even from political events. Materials such as film, online literature and videos and many others provide a resourceful source for a lone wolf to learn the tactics and methods of attack. From the lessons, lone wolves are able to identify appropriate times and audiences to hit to cause maximum damage. Curtailing the concept remains the most defensible mechanism. 

Mitigating the Lone Wolf Risk

To handle the lone wolf element, it is necessary to have sufficient mechanisms to curtail the spread of material that perpetuate the concept. Such mechanisms include the use of online surveillance as the internet offers a rich ground for the spreading of material that is not conventional as explained by Shaffer (2015). Terrorists with the intention to spread their agenda will hide behind many layers of protection in the dark-web to execute their intentions of influencing numerous would be lone wolves.

The other mechanism to handle lone wolves is the involvement of the local community. Evidently, some other members of the community supported the two Boston Marathon Bombers and helped them to achieve their goal. If such members of the community felt the obligation to report, the deaths, injuries, and destruction that ensued after the bombing would have been stopped early enough. The arrest of the last surviving brother was done with the help of the community. This underlines the role of the community in preventing and thwarting the ulterior motives of terrorists, a position supported by Weine et al. (2017). 


Shaffer, R. (2015). Unconventional Views of Terrorism: Culture, Objectives, and the Future. Terrorism and Political Violence, 27(5), 970-975.Weine, S. M., Stone, A., Saeed, A., Shanfield, S., Beahrs, J., Gutman, A., & Mihajlovic, A. (2017). Violent extremism, community-based violence prevention, and mental health professionals. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 205(1), 54-57.

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