Ed Lard, CEO of the locally-based Diplomatic Protection Training Institute, gave his viewpoints following the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi in September, so our station contacted him again after Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon.
After reviewing the coverage of the bombing and its aftermath, Lard credited the response provided by the various agencies, saying authorities did the best they could. But he also said there’s really no way to completely safeguard an event like the Marathon, which covers more than 26 miles.
Lard said it comes down to the everyday people in the crowd, who he said are the real first responders in an emergency.
“Everyone needs to be more vigilant, more aware of their surroundings, and realize they may be the last line of defense to keep something bad from happening to their family,” Lard said.
Lard spent seven years working for the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.
He said people need training in how to respond to events like Monday’s, beginning as early as middle and high school age. He said they should be trained on suspicious activities to be looking for, as well as first-aid skills to help others who are hurt in emergencies.
“People need to watch. People need to see it. And then people are gonna think back ‘Now was there something there?’ ‘Did you see something that stuck out?’,” Lard said.
Lard also thinks the location of the bombing, away from a city like New York and Washington, D.C., may be another sign of things to come.
“It’s about not letting terrorists change our way of life. And the more we give up, as far as civil liberties, the more successful they are at their goal. Their goal is to change our way of life,” he said.
Lard also said terrorism can happen anywhere and local officials need to look at the area’s venues and events and ask themselves if they are prepared for an event like the Boston bombing.