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Race Security Overreaction?
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I'm doing a large, well-known tri this weekend.

Just received an email from the RD with new security precautions that we apparently have to follow. We apparently will be given two numbered clear plastic bags that we are supposed to use for all of our transition gear. All bags are numbered for each athlete, and we are specifically asked NOT to bring any other type of bags (ie backpacks/transition bags), and everything we do bring will be searched by the PD prior to allowing us to enter transition on race morning.

Am I alone in thinking this bit of "security theater" is a bit much of an overreaction to the events in Boston?

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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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Total over-reaction but I can't say I am surprised at all.I wonder if it was the decision of the organizers or the local authorities..

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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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with the benefit of hindsight do you think anyone from Boston would consider this 'security theater'?

personally I don't think such an action would occur in transition but just outside where the crowds are watching bike mount and dismount, that tends to be where crowds and VIP tents are.
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [shep] [ In reply to ]
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shep wrote:
with the benefit of hindsight do you think anyone from Boston would consider this 'security theater'?.

Yes, every rational person would think it was silly.
There aren't a lot of them, but there are some.



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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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you are not alone, but.... seems like it's a way to cut down on the crap in transition. Not unlike some WTC races where you can't have things on your bike and have to use transition bags. Plus it might be easier to see what bag is yours if you can see in them. Think of it as a blessing in disguise.
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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I saw lots big black backpacks at ITU last weekend and no transition bags were checked as far as I know, more than a few high profile people at that race.
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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We had a moment of silence before my triathlon on Saturday in honor of Boston.

I'd be willing to give up a few minutes for a bag check to avoid random danger...


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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [shep] [ In reply to ]
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shep wrote:
with the benefit of hindsight do you think anyone from Boston would consider this 'security theater'?


When you say "anyone from Boston" it seems you are implying there was some sort of manly reaction - you know, like what you would see in some countries where they spray the blood off the street and open for business again the next day like nothing happened. What I saw was a little scared girl who jumps up on a chair when she sees a mouse and swats it with a broom. Except she was on the chair swatting for several days.
Last edited by: endofempire: Apr 22, 13 22:48
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [Agilecipher] [ In reply to ]
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Agilecipher wrote:
I'd be willing to give up a few minutes for a bag check to avoid random danger...

So you're willing to do worthless acts of worthlessness to not prevent anything... what idiot would put a bomb in a bag that was going to be checked?

You can check all the bags, make them clear, you can run bomb sniffing dogs before the race, but no matter what you do it doesn't prevent someone who wants to set off a bomb from setting one off in an open area. You can't make an open field/open race course secure, well you can but I don't think anyone wants to pay the cost of that race. How many races happen a year, between all the running races all the tris and everything else. 20k+?? and this has been going on for how many years with not one incident? Out of all these races for all these years we've had one bombing, yet now for some reason people feel unsafe going to a race. I don't get it.

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De Soto Sport Athlete
Formerly Draketriathlon
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [endofempire] [ In reply to ]
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endofempire wrote:
shep wrote:
with the benefit of hindsight do you think anyone from Boston would consider this 'security theater'?


When you say "anyone from Boston" it seems you are implying there was some sort of manly reaction - you know, like what you would see in some countries where they spray the blood off the street and open for business again the next day like nothing happened. What I saw was a little scared girl who jumps up on a chair when she sees a mouse and swats it with a broom. Except she was on the chair swatting for several days.

no no, was trying to say that anyone in Boston at that particular time would probably have been very glad to jump through whatever hoops were necessary to increase safety of all concerned...in hindsight. Nothing about any manly reaction.
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [Grant.Reuter] [ In reply to ]
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I remember living in Tampa about 8 years ago, and they were adding pat downs when you entered the Bucs NFL games. What struck me as so odd was that people were actually really hell bent against the act. I kinda just shrugged and thought it was with the times that we live in. I just thought it was interesting how pissed off that people were getting about it and how they were going to lengths of trying to make it out like their "rights" were being violated. This reminds me of that.

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@brooksdoughtie
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http://www.aomultisport.com
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [BDoughtie] [ In reply to ]
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I am all for this. This may keep all the excess stuff in transition. Also may limit the people in the transition who should not be in there.

Jeremy
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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Am I alone in thinking this bit of "security theater" is a bit much of an overreaction to the events in Boston?


I gather you are not American :)



You're such a Trump ball washer! - Duffy - Feb 8, 17 13:18
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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You are not alone. I think it is a large overreaction to a virtually nonexistent threat. As someone already pointed out, if there's going to be a problem, it would most likely come from the spectator side, and there is just not a plausible way to control that. And yes, I am American (some later post suggested the OP must not be) and I had friends at Boston.
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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Yesterday a woman at work asked me if I was running the NYC marathon this year. I looked at her weirdly at first (because I've never run an open marathon) and then asked if she meant the one in November. She said "sure, if that's when it is" so I said no because I'll be in Florida for IMFL. She then asked if I was scared to race because they are so dangerous now. I decided to tell her that getting in my car and driving home was also dangerous. So is riding my bike on the side of the road with distracted drivers going by. There is nothing we can do and to eliminate risks in life. Knee jerk reactions to give people a false sense of security are not the answer.

George Carlin had a funny bit about airport security that sort of relates. Check it out:

The point is we incur risk in so many things we do. Using clear bags instead of regular ones isn't a major change or a big deal (and I agree with the poster about maybe it keep transition less cluttered) but it is doing zero to prevent anything from happening at a race. The way communities came together after Boston and have in so many other tragedies makes me believe that most people are inherently good. We have to trust in that and know that on an open course like our races, there is no complete safety net, but the risk is also extremely minuscule. You're more likely to get blown off your bike in strong wind or slide out on wet roads.

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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [Sbradley11] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
riding my bike on the side of the road with distracted drivers

Your statement is right on. As a 41yo healthy suburban male if I ranked my risks for serious injury:
  1. cycling in training
  2. driving
  3. running in training
  4. undiagnosed health conditions
  5. home accidents


Cycling - concerns me because I have been hit before and I have "near misses" each time I cycle. Driving - I have been doing for so long that I take it for granted, but occasionally during poor road conditions or during expressway traffic driving I am more concerned. The other 3 don't worry me at all.

I got the same over-reaction from people who know I do marys. It is similar reaction when they read about somebody having a clincher during a marathon or drowning during a triathlon.



Swim - Bike - Run the rest is just clothing changes.
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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Yes and no! All it takes is 1 crazy triathlete to blow him self up in T1 then you will say i wish they had better security.

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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [temoniprince] [ In reply to ]
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temoniprince wrote:
Yes and no! All it takes is 1 crazy triathlete to blow him self up in T1 then you will say i wish they had better security.

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Triathletes blow themselves up all the time,usually from lack of training...

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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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What's wrong with security theater? 95% of all security is theater.

A race director has 2 choices - do nothing and risk looking like an idiot or do something and at least then he can say he tried. Clear bags are a pretty easy way to be in a position to say you tried.

On a more practical note, I do believe that it took the PD a really long time and alot of effort to check huge stash of runner bags in Boston that were transported from the start to finish. If the bags had been clear, it would have made the search for a 3rd bomb quicker. I predict clear bags will become the norm at any race where participants are bringing/storing stuff during the race.
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [Ultra-tri-guy] [ In reply to ]
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If thats the case then we make a huge percentage of suicide bombers BHAHAHA I know im really good at it.

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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [coredump] [ In reply to ]
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The St. Anthony's RD provided a nice response in a similiar thread.
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [endofempire] [ In reply to ]
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endofempire wrote:
shep wrote:
with the benefit of hindsight do you think anyone from Boston would consider this 'security theater'?


When you say "anyone from Boston" it seems you are implying there was some sort of manly reaction - you know, like what you would see in some countries where they spray the blood off the street and open for business again the next day like nothing happened. What I saw was a little scared girl who jumps up on a chair when she sees a mouse and swats it with a broom. Except she was on the chair swatting for several days.

Just had to quote this for posterity. Maybe you might take a different tone if you knew one of the dead, or one of the dozens that were maimed for life. I suppose your definition of a "manly response" doesn't take into consideration the police officers that risked their own lives in a gun battle or rescuing victims even though there might have been another bomb, or the fact that one police officer was killed and another nearly killed during those days of "swatting a mouse with a broom". But I'm sure you take such selfless risks all the time in your life. I know that many terrible things happen all the time in other countries but maybe it's part of their tragedy that they have no choice but to carry on and by washing the blood off the street immediately they're acknowledging they don't have the resources to do a proper investigation that might catch the perpetrators and help end the cycle of violence.
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [Grant.Reuter] [ In reply to ]
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Grant.Reuter wrote:
Agilecipher wrote:

I'd be willing to give up a few minutes for a bag check to avoid random danger...


So you're willing to do worthless acts of worthlessness to not prevent anything... what idiot would put a bomb in a bag that was going to be checked?

You can check all the bags, make them clear, you can run bomb sniffing dogs before the race, but no matter what you do it doesn't prevent someone who wants to set off a bomb from setting one off in an open area. You can't make an open field/open race course secure, well you can but I don't think anyone wants to pay the cost of that race. How many races happen a year, between all the running races all the tris and everything else. 20k+?? and this has been going on for how many years with not one incident? Out of all these races for all these years we've had one bombing, yet now for some reason people feel unsafe going to a race. I don't get it.

Well said. It seems the only reaction we have anymore is benign overreaction. It's getting almost formulaic:

1. The media and politicians will continue to blow it out of proportion to meet their needs (I expect someone to propose new laws regarding pressure cooker registration and background checks any day now).
2. We will have plenty of fake outrage by keyboard warriors desperate to draw attention to their blogs. Most of these will be posted within 36 hours of the incident. Commenters will tell them how awesome they are.
3. Millions of ribbons are made up, generated, and sold, in appropriate colors. For convenience, the ribbons are not actually ribbon, but stickers, magnets, screen-printed shirts, etc. in the shape of a ribbon. I'm surprised the shape hasn't been trademarked.
4. The phrase "in solidarity with" gets thrown around a lot.
5. We implement mostly useless and ineffective strategies to "prevent" it from happening again.
6. We will accept these inconveniences and additional costs in the name of "patriotism." Yeah, we're really showing them who's boss.
7. The insurance companies latch on, and we won't be able to afford to race because the insurance and costs of extra security will skyrocket.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. The net result is that we don't actually *do* anything. In the meantime, there are probably thousands of individuals and other groups out there plotting some action that nobody has thought of yet. Effective terrorists stay a step ahead of everybody. This is how terrorism works - making people fearful of normal living.

Sorry. I went off on a rant there and will probably regret this, but I'm just tired of the fake outrage.

Travis Rassat
Vector Cycle Works
Noblesville, IN
BikeFit Instructor | FMS | F.I.S.T. | IBFI
Toughman Triathlon Series Ambassador
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Re: Race Security Overreaction? [STP] [ In reply to ]
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STP wrote:
What's wrong with security theater? 95% of all security is theater.

A race director has 2 choices - do nothing and risk looking like an idiot or do something and at least then he can say he tried. Clear bags are a pretty easy way to be in a position to say you tried.

The problem with this rationalization is that it blatantly focuses all on how the race director looks, rather than measures which actually are needed and useful. And that is the foundation of the objections to security theater.

The problem with security theater is that it adds minimal (read: "zero") protection at the cost of maximum hassle. Death by degrees. They could implement TSA-level screening at triathlons, with long lines, full-body-scanners and having you all take off your shoes to get into transition and I'm sure there would still be a number of fanatics who would sign up and participate. But you still would not be safe.

You don't need to be from Boston to see this. But I am if that actually matters to someone.
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