Alex Witt   |  April 21, 2013

Security implications for future mass gatherings

Alex Witt discusses the security implications on future mass gatherings with risk management and security expert Kiersten Todt Coon. She explains the differences between securing open and closed events.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> right now, crime scene units are back on boylston street in boston where they're gathering all the debris and trash as they sift through evidence. this as mourners gather to pay tribute to those killed and injured in the attack, which is raising questions about the future security of such mass gatherings.

>> over the last decade, we've been remarkably lucky. and i don't understand and i don't think anybody really understands why this hasn't happened many, many times over the course of the last decade. because it's so easy for these people to do it.

>> here to talk with me more about risk management and security, can you answer that question that was raised there? why is it this has not happened more frequently?

>> well, i think it's a combination. we have been lucky. in october of 2005 , there was a young man in oklahoma who but found with a bomb strapped to him that detonated early, prematurely, about 200 yards from a stadium where there were 85,000 spectators. had it not detonated prematurely, we would be in a different situation. since 9/11, there has been a continuum of failed and contained attempts. we've been quite fortunate. boston , as horrific as it was for the psychological and physical damage, it will force us to really look at these issues more closely and highway we contain these events. there are two types of sporting events , those contained in a stadium where you can monitor people's access. and then there are the open events like the marathon and the olympics. the key to the open events is resill yanienc resilience. london overlapped their evacuation roots with access to olympic sites. that's the key is how do we create resilience in the infrastructure.

>> is there a lesson to come out of that that you say focusing on this is what we should do going forward?

>> well, i think really boston , for what it was, we were so fortunate with the access to the hospitals, some of the best hospitals in the world. the fact that there were so many first responders right there. i think that's why you're going to see increased police presence. i know one of the questions that's coming up today is do we need more security cameras . it's actually an issue that came out of newtown as well. do we put security cameras in schools. i think security cameras are proving to have a role, particularly in those open events. and what we're seeing is how do we -- and when something like this happens, how do we ensure that we contain it? the way to contain it is by first responder presence and by as much visibility into certain parts of these events as possible.

>> yeah. here's something that's extraordinary. it really falls on all of our shoulders, because we've learned that one of the victims who lost his legs to the bomb blast , he was key in identifying at least one of the two suspects. are we now in a position where we have to see something, say something? that's not only the new norm, but it's really essential for every american?

>> yes. and as you know, it's what we've been saying for a long time. but when something like this happens, we really realize that it's all the more important and that you know, in that waiver of do i say something or not, it's certainly the right thing to do to err on the side of caution. we just need to be aware. it's not about living in a state of paranoia, but it's about living in a state of awareness and that's what we're asking society and everybody to do at this point.

>> awareness is our new reality. thank you so much.