Updated April 24, 2017.
I wrote this piece a couple of days before the London Marathon. I was very happy that the upgraded security protected the nearly 36,000 runners in London. I was also very happy that the security in Boston did the exact same.
In the past two months, we have seen attacks on London in a tourist center, attacks on Stockholm in the center of the city, attack on the metro in Saint Petersburg. In the last 24 hours, there was an attack in Paris once again.
We live in difficult times. Partisanship on nearly every issue continues to grow. Social media, which should bring people together, has been used to help push people away from each other, supporting every bizarre political consideration, without any thought to find a way to remind humans that we have more similar than different. Unfortunately, I do not believe that social media companies, the robber barons of the twenty-first century do anything more than pretend to worry about level of fabrication that exists on the major social media platforms.
The lack of understanding or appreciation of world religions makes us vulnerable to misunderstandings, but also understanding the cultural differences that can be overcome, and which ones, quite frankly, can not. Faith and religious beliefs have cultural and historic beginnings: in all major world religions, the founders spoke of love, understanding and appreciation. It is their practitioners who bastardize those faiths for political gains, or to subjugate percieved oppressions by other groups. Education is prized in all world religions, yet, in some countries, ignorance seems to be praised.
Most security organizations are not worried about life long believers in a faith, they are concerned about people with extreme beliefs, who then convert to extreme forms of any faith, to soothe their feelings of isolationism in the modern world.
Iphones, Ipads, ibooks, and other types of communication platforms all have a value in communication, education and entertainment. But, overuse can increase isolationism. Try this, turn your phone off for a couple of hours a say. When you take a walk, turn the phone off, when you have an evening meal with the family, turn off the phone.
I have traveled to well over sixty countries ( I believe it may be closer to 70). I have found, in all countries, that my positive experience was not related to the wealth of the country, or modern communications in the country. I see people all over the world frustrated with their governments, concerned about global crisis, and wanting to support their families, and that their families can live in peace and some comfort.
Want to get on TV? Terrorists know that if they blow something up, or kill a group of people you do not like, but may not even know, it will be on global television. It will be on all social media platforms. This information makes us feel out of control, afraid of the modern world and fear of all things we do not understand.
In this current era, which, I believe, may get worse before it gets better, the production and management of modern sporting events has become much more complicated. From European football club matches, to major marathons around the world, all must concern themselves with unprovoked acts of terrorism.
In London, the security is, of course increased. It was increased in Boston last weekend at the marathon. Be prepared, is how the security forces, and local police establishments look at it. In the UK, the approach seems to include local intelligence, or, more beat cops on the streets, providing physical suggestion of more security and support.
Tomorrow along the roads of London, thousands of police officers, military and security officials will be observing the race so that 40,000 plus can enjoy their life changing experiences. We wish all fine races, but most of all safe races. We also believe that running a marathon is embracing the human condition. We all want a better world, and better experiences.
Look at the picture of the NYC police officer I posted on top of this article. In this day and age, seeing a police officer like this outside a crowded expo, makes many feel safe.
After seeing 30,000 runners in Boston and 40,000 runners tomorrow in London, I have to say, I see more good in the world than evil.
Good luck to the marathoners in London on Sunday, April 23, 2017.