My tax day post was obviously pre-written, and the actual events of the Boston Marathon Bombing left me with nothing coherent or original to say.
As things stand, there are few answers and much worthless conjecture. If anybody tries to tell you that “everybody knows,” remember that once upon a time “everybody knew” that the earth was flat, that the sun revolved around it, and that witches kept cats as familiars. For example, here’s a collection of stories that are not true about Boston. As usual, you can count on a level head from security expert Bruce Schneier.
Now we have a nutcase Congressman who is against immigration reform because “We have people that are trained to act Hispanic when they are radical Islamists.” Forgive my bluntness, but that is a reason we need immigration reform: so they don’t get jobs in agriculture where they can poison our food (and oh boo hoo we might have to pay minimum wage to legal workers). The fact is that the overwhelming majority of voters — you remember, the people who elect Congressmen — support immigration reform.
However, since there is not yet any evidence of who was behind the events in Boston let alone why, I’d like to focus on a blog post by someone who lives within walking distance of the tragedy. Oddly enough, this was the bit that got me thinking:
[N]ote to emergency planners–don’t assume people from out of town or who don’t speak English well will understand where things are, even if they’re really close by[.]
Now Boston has its share of tourists and I do not dispute this. However, I live in a city whose economy lives on tourism. We had over 39,000,000 annual visits to a metropolitan area that — on a good day — has a population of barely 2,000,000. And not only do those tourists come from all over the world, we have a large population of immigrants as well. On a trip to a nearby grocery store, it’s not unusual to hear conversations in Spanish, Cantonese, French, or Russian. The local Home Depot has staff members who speak Japanese and Tagalog.
So, as we carry out our own Bad Thing Happens In Public Place drill, will we account for those whose English skills are poor, or lacking?
How will we account for the fact that a bombing attack such as happened in Boston might force the evacuation of multiple huge hotel-casinos?
Traffic on the Strip sucks on a good day; what happens if all that traffic has to be re-routed to roads like Paradise and Decatur — two roads that also have frequent congestion? What if it has to be re-routed for more than a couple blocks, as with the taxi incident?
I realize that there’s no planning for the extremely unlikely, but emergencies do happen.
In Closing: Complete noobs wanted for toughest assignment in the system; wow; the student loan crisis is worse than you think; “It’s pretty exciting to be on a list that frequently features Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou”; Eric Schmidt is right; and pissing contest.