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Boston Marathon Bombing Attack

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Updated: May 24th, 2021

The Boston Marathon terrorist attack happened in 2013 during the Boston Marathon. Two homemade bombs were detonated in the crowd near the finishing line, where three people died, and 260 others were injured. First responders were quickly to react. Within a short time, tents meant to attend the runners were converted to medical tents for the injured persons immediately. Three people died instantly from the bomb injuries and 260 were seriously injured. One hundred people were transported to the local hospital area (Gates et al., 2017). Local area police and federal investigators secured the site as a crime scene that covered 15 square blocks.

The Unified Command Center provided regular messages that were well coordinated, and this provided accurate information to the public. On the day that the bombing happened, four press conferences were convened, and they explained more about how the attacks happened to keep the public at ease. The people were eager to know whether the situation was under control and whether their family and friends attending the event were safe. The four conferences served the purpose well. People were at ease though shocked of the incident that had not ever happened at a marathon event before.

The local and state law enforcement authorities coordinated the process together with the FBI investigators (Shi et al., 2018). They answered calls made by the public about any suspicious activity happening in their neighborhoods. They secured the crime scene and ensured that all the injured persons were taken to the hospital. Mental health services were offered to the deceased families and to the runners. Some initial investigation revealed that the attackers used household pressure cookers, ball bearing, nails, and explosive substances. Hazardous materials were nails, ball bearings, and explosive materials (Singh et al., 2016). They were packed in household pressure cookers.

Bomb disposal is a profession in bomb engineering. The investigating agencies had the mandate to collect hazardous materials and dispose of them. They took the materials from the site though further tests were to be carried out in the lab. After the tests and the desired conclusions were drawn, then the hazardous materials would be disposed of off safely. After the investigation, it was discovered that the first two bombs were detonated at 2:49 pm at 671 Boylston Street (Shi et al., 2018). The second bomb was detonated after thirteen seconds, 180 yards away. This was at 755 Boylston Street.

The Boston bombing claimed lives and caused severe injuries. Three people died, and 260 others were injured. There must have been a preplanning period for the attackers. The bombs were homemade, so the attackers took time to make them and identify the Boston marathon as their target of attack. They planned to attack a venue with a crowd of people, and so they preplanned well and made sure they were on time when the race was still in progress. There might be no evidence of pre-planning, but it is definite that the attackers were targeting the Boston Marathon. Therefore, there was proper preplanning. The two attackers did not have any concrete objectives to carry out their mission of attack, but the one who survived admits that they were motivated by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Maybe because of their Muslim affiliation, they were revenging against the Americans.

Their strategy was to make homemade bombs, target the Boston marathon crowd and detonate the bombs. That is the reason they targeted the finishing line because usually, the crowd is more significant there. They were to run away immediately.This was a deadly attack, and controlling an attack of such magnitude is crucial in future events (Gates et al., 2017). This narrows down to security agencies. Security intelligence should be improved during marathon activities, especially in the finishing area, because that is the only place with large crowds. Conducting thorough security checkups before marathons should be mandatory.

The medical teams were more careful about the PPEs they used. This was a caution because the explosives would have contained some poisonous substances. The PPEs would not allow radioactive transmissions. The attackers were two, and after investigations, it was found that they were brothers of Kyrgyzstan origin. After the attack, they high jacked an SUV vehicle and kidnapped the owner. Learning of the stolen vehicle incident, the police pursued and confronted them. One of the attackers was seriously injured and arrested but later died in the hospital. (Shi, Internet Research., 2018) The second attacker, Tarmelan Tsarnaev, was later shot and arrested. Upon court proceedings, Tsarnaev was sentenced to death. However, in July 2020, this sentence was revoked and is a pending hearing.

The response of the security and medical teams was swift. Security teams redirected the runners faster as a precaution against more attacks. The medical attendants who took care of the runners efficiently converted their tents and started attending to the injured persons. The response in Boston was appropriate, the teams that were deployed were well-coordinated, and the command structures were not badly off. However, there is a lot of improvement needed at the national level regarding disaster management. In the past the idea had not been given the desired attention but occurrences such as the Boston bombing served as a wakeup call.

There needs to be a well-designed incident management structure in place that we are confident with in case of such a tragedy in future. The design should be as follows; the awareness levels in the situation and expertise ought to have been on point. The decision-making should be brief and rapid. In case of an incident, customizations made should be modest to facilitate countering the attack. Skills required during the incident are to be highly developed and well-polished. Only leadership, applicable in such an incident should be well drilled, highly practiced, and selected for training and performance before. The command presence applied should be direct and authority-based. The organizational structure put in place ought to have been hierarchical, while the execution should have been direct and precise.

One important thing is Boston responded well to this attack. However, it is essential to ask ourselves what if this tragedy happened in other cities; would they react like Boston. A lot of emphasis should be on national coordination, a lot of attention to surge capacity constantly, and standard operating procedures. Emergencies should no longer be treated as an afterthought in US hospitals. Boston had most of the emergency preparedness measures in place, and that is the reason they responded very well.

The incident happened in Boston. The mandate of the security team at Boston was to alert the National disaster management team, which would be the center of instruction in the exercise. They would have the mandate of deploying teams and managing them on the ground. The national team in Boston would be responsible for communicating progress to their headquarters.


Gates, J. D., Arabian, S., Biddinger, P., Blansfield, J., Burke, P., Chung, S., … &Yaffe, M. B. (2017). . MIT Libraries.

Shi, J., Hu, P., Lai, K. K., & Chen, G. (2018). . Internet Research, 28(2), 393-418.

Singh, A. K., Ditkofsky, N. G., York, J. D., Abujudeh, H. H., Avery, L. A., Brunner, J. F., … & Lev, M. H. (2016). . Radiographics, 36(1), 295-307.

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IvyPanda. "Boston Marathon Bombing Attack." May 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/boston-marathon-bombing-attack/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Boston Marathon Bombing Attack." May 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/boston-marathon-bombing-attack/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Boston Marathon Bombing Attack'. 24 May.

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