Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston bombings

The bombings in Boston, whoever caused them, are prime examples of terrorism, killing and maiming innocent people in order to terrorize the larger population and change government policy.  However, despite the casualties they won't succeed in doing anything like that.  It's true that 3 dead and 140 injured is a terrible toll, but really a small number compared to many other such incidents, including daily bombings in Iraq and former bus bombings in Israel that caused up to 30 dead.  It appears that at least one of the two bombs that went off was in a trash container and several bombs reportedly did not ignite, leaving possible important evidence for the FBI.
During the first intifada it was quite common to have trash container bombs here, either with timers or detonated remotely.  When I vounteered for the civil guard, one of our jobs was to check trash containers and especially those in buses, because Arabs liked to jump on a bus, drop a bomb in the trash and then hop off, leaving the bomb to detonate later.  But, then the security checks reduced the effectiveness of these bombs and so they graduated to suicide bombs that killed more people.  To stop the effectiveness of trash container bombs in the streets, Israel removed all the thin wire mesh or small metal cans attached to lampposts and introduced bomb proof trash containers.  This means having fewer trash bins, but having ones that are sturdily built and designed with two metal walls to contain the impact of a bomb.  Just one of these can reduce the toll of an explosion to almost nil.  I suggest that Boston and most other cities follow the Israeli example and by investing in bomb-proof trash bins can reduce the toll of any attempted bombings.  So much so that Israel has not had a trash container bomb for many years, its just not effective any more.
Luckily in Boston the medical facilities set-up for the marathon were right next to the first bomb site and ambulances were waiting right there, so that probably helped to reduce the casualties.  Also, Boston has a great series of hospitals that treated the many injured. 
The timing of the bombings was clearly intended for the end of the Boston Marathon and the Massachusetts holiday of Patriot's Day.  That it also occured on Israeli Independence Day, April 15, is probably a coincidence.  However, the fact that two bombs detonated nearly simultaneously indicates an organization rather than just one crazed individual.  Let's hope that they left enough evidence that they will soon be captured or killed and stopped.  The world is a dangerous place, but man has the ingenuity to overcome all dangers.


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