The 36th Annual Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon, a 26 mile run crossing in and out of Canada, is expected to draw as many as 80,000 people this Sunday, as well as a massively heightened security presence.
Using the Boston Marathon bombing as rationale, multiple groups including the FBI, Homeland Security, Windsor Police and Border Patrol will implement new and increased security measures, affecting the event’s spectators and 27,000 marathon participants.
“I don’t think Boston did anything wrong. Again, it allows us that when a tragedy occurs, we get to debrief it; we get to look at what we could do better,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a public press conference Wednesday.
The new measures include a “clear bag” policy for all runners, a Homeland Security certified policy recently pushed on the NFL as well, also admittedly adopted in part as a response to the Boston bombing.
“They will not be able to carry bags along the race route. All of their valuables will be placed in a clear plastic bag and it will be synched with their bib number, and it will be kept in a safe area,” Police Comm. Renee Hall said.
Rules regarding specifically to spectators have been mostly “withheld” from the public, although a ban on backpacks and duffel bags has been issued. The Fourth Amendment will also be suspended during the event, with random bag searches being conducted by security personnel.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable that we’ve done everything we can to protect the runners, spectators and volunteers, but we can’t reveal details of our security operations,” Executive Race Director Rich Harshbarger said. “Doing so would compromise the ability to respond to emergency situations.”
A list of suggestions on the marathon website’s security section includes the expected “see something, say something” slogan, as well as a list of “helpful links” from Homeland Security. One presented document entitled “The Seven Signs Of Terrorism,” lists incredibly mundane and expected behaviors for a major public event.
Activities including using maps or binoculars, taking pictures, recording video or taking notes are presented as suspicious activity. Ironically, another document presented provides a printable “Response Checklist” which includes sections to “take notes” on suspicious packages.
While security is to be expected at any major event, the increasing federal presence and erosion of rights in public, under the guise of stopping terrorism, continues to be nothing more than security theater. Despite the fact that Americans are far more likely to die from bees stings and lightning than a terrorist attack, the federal government continues its demand for ever increasing surveillance powers over every citizen.
“What happened in Boston certainly raises your consciousness that we’re still very much in a terrorist rich environment,” Detroit police chief James Craig said, seemingly clueless to actual terrorism statistics.
While the Boston marathon is being used as justification for the new policies, eye-witness veteran marathon runner and track coach Ali Stevenson told Storyleak’s Anthony Gucciardi of the strange security surrounding Boston last April, including announced drills, bomb-sniffing dogs and roof spotters at the finish line, leading him to believe that police “must have known” but didn’t stop an explosive device. Both suspected bombers being known by the FBI and CIA since 2011 seem to be minor foot notes as well.
Just last May, attendees of Washington state’s Lilac Bloomsday Run experienced even stricter security as a border patrol plane circled above. Despite the event being almost 100 miles away from the border, the unconstitutional action was justified by the Boston bombing.
Given the FBI’s admission of stopping 17 domestic terror plots that they originally created and President Obama’s recent decision to waive federal law designed to prevent the US from arming terrorists, Americans are increasingly rejecting the trade off of liberty for “security,” especially when the government themselves internally admit the threat is almost non-existent.