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I’ll get right to the point: there is no Boston Marathon conspiracy. This is not a false flag; this is terrorism. Whether it’s domestic or foreign, we don’t authoritatively know yet. I would like to address one aspect of the “conspiracy” directly: the controversy surrounding the bomb dogs present at the marathon. I have worked with bomb dogs in a civilian care capacity for a couple of years, and am familiar with how, when, and how often these dogs are trained.
1. Isn’t it suspicious that there were bomb dogs at the event for “training?” Do you really expect me to believe that’s a coincidence?
It’s neither suspicious nor coincidence. Bomb dogs have a very rigorous training standard, which includes hours of active searching and testing regularly to retain certification. Like any other police activity, training is best done in varied situations and stress levels. Dogs are handled in controlled environments as well as public events to assess the dog’s ability to work in a variety of situations.
It’s a “two birds, one stone,” situation – the dogs get valuable training in a large crowd, and the event gets bomb sweeping. It is NOT uncommon for bomb dogs to be at marathons. The dog I worked with had been trained and serviced at more than one. Chances are, any large event you’ve gone to post-9/11 has had a bomb dog training at it.
2. Why didn’t the dogs detect the bomb then? Isn’t it suspicious the dogs weren’t in the blast area?
Current intelligence suggests that the bomber was mobile. Bomb dogs are a scarce resource – you’re talking about a massive area to cover for a marathon and very few dogs trained in bomb detection. Literally thousands of areas to scan. The dogs very likely were taken through the finish line area…hours before the explosion. We don’t know how long the bombs were placed before detonation – the window for them to have been discovered could have been minutes.
Keep in mind dogs have to rest just like people, especially search dogs. Try to do “Eye Spy” books for hours on end—eventually your eyes will fatigue from trying to find a red marble. Their noses can get “tired” the same way, so there’s nothing suspicious about there not being bomb dogs in an area that had already been searched.
3. There are reports that the police were on megaphones telling the crowd that the dogs were just there for a drill. That seems like a lot of presence for a “drill” to me.
You have to understand, a lot of people fear police, a lot of people fear dogs, nearly everyone is afraid of police dogs. It’s awfully hard to train and sweep in a crowd of people freaking out.
Panic, especially in a crowd, is a dangerous situation, and it only takes one person to start a chain reaction. Panic, stampeding, trampling, can be just as lethal as a bomb blast. In The Station nightclub fire in 2003, a huge number of people perished in the doorway out of the club, piled on top of one another, trying to escape. Others still were trampled to death inside the club. The number one concern of the Boston police during the marathon would have been preventing panic and a stampede-related tragedy.
4. Well wouldn’t a guy with multiple backpacks have been suspicious? How did law enforcement not notice something like that, and have the dogs sniff him out?
Actually, at a marathon that’s pretty common. Outside the first wave of professional runners, a lot of people marathon with friends. Marathoners are generally pretty social with their running, it’s totally normal for a group of friends to run together…and have one friend or spouse at the end with all of their bags. Seeing a spectator at the finish line with two, three, four backpacks full of stuff wouldn’t have been totally out of place. There were hundreds of medium to large bags dropped by fleeing spectators. We don’t know who the bomber was yet. For all we know he or she too was cheering or had sports bags—just like many other people in the crowd. The bomber would have blended in 100%. Expecting nefarious people to be outwardly obvious is unreasonable.
Again, law enforcement had no knowledge of a threat prior to the explosions, so having each person who came and went with bags searched would not have, at the time, seemed like a wise use of resources.
I hope that this clears up some of the misconceptions about bomb dogs and the events in Boston. We need to keep our thoughts with the community and with our families, life is fragile.
In an unrelated but important note, if you’re considering donating blood, please wait 2-4 weeks from now. Blood has a limited shelf life and the hospitals in Boston have already met their blood needs. Because blood donation can only be done every 56 days, if everyone donates now there will be a window of shortages in the coming weeks when the blood begins to expire and donors are not yet eligible to donate again.