I enjoy running for exercise. In my better moments, I even dream of running the granddaddy of all marathons, the Boston Marathon.
During a trip to Boston two years ago, I even tracked down the finish line of the race. It is painted on the street in front of the Boston Public Library. I sent a photo to my wife of me by the finish line with the caption "The closest I will likely get to the finish line of the Boston Marathon.” An aging body, slow pace and ever faster qualifying standards mean it will remain a fun dream.
Up until a month ago, Copley Square in Boston was known only to locals, tourists or those crazy marathoners. Sadly, the bombings on April 15 made average people around the world experts on the geography of greater Boston.
Out of the tragedy came stories of courage and vigilance. Once again, professionals and citizens alike rushed to the aid of the runners and spectators without care for their own safety. Most dramatic for me was the manner in which bomber #2 was tracked down. A citizen was vigilant, noticed something was not right regarding a stored boat, peeled back the tarp, and to his shock found the bomber. A quick call to 911 and this terrorist was taken alive.
It all reminds me that truckers continue to be in the perfect position to be our security eyes and ears on the road. We are creatures of repetition and consistency. We drive the same routes, go to the same places and haul critical goods. We know when something looks normal, and when it seems not quite right.
The terrorist bombings in Boston should serve as a reminder that we need to remain alert and prepared. This might be a good time to offer your drivers a refresher course on observation and reporting protocols.
I dusted off our old Highway Watch materials to give myself a refresher. It all boils down to being observant regarding behavior. Look out for suspicious behavior and take mental or physical notes when something seems out of the ordinary, such as:
- Lack of proper identification, uniform or work gear
- Loitering, watching or staring
- Taking photos, video or notes
- Strangers asking questions about loads, schedules or destinations
- Unusual behavior for situation (calm when others are stressed or vice versa)
- Unexplained presence for an extended time
- Vendors or delivery personnel who don’t know the job
- Leaving articles unattended
- Trucks or trailers parked where they should not be
If you believe a crime is being committed or human safety is threatened, call 911. Be prepared to give as much detail as possible. It was the vigilance and communication of an ordinary citizen that led to the capture of bomber #2. We certainly can do no less.
I have always held the Boston Marathon in great esteem as one of America’s great athletic events. It will now and forever take on even greater meaning as a symbol of strength and resilience. Trust me, it will be run next year … though by runners far more qualified than me. But hey, this is America. A guy can always dream, right?