In the wake of the horrific bombing in Boston yesterday, there have been no "claims of responsibility" by a terrorist group, but it is highly likely the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have a few in mind they "like for it." So does everyone else, but from the viewpoint of our profession, a so-called "random act of violence," that is, one that's not expected in any way, is not easy to anticipate. Why the Boston Marathon? An easy target: open streets filled with potential victims. But unlike many bombings, there was no "warning shot" - an anonymous caller saying "something bad is going to happen."
Perhaps the only thing that could have helped was more "feet on the ground" - police and undercover law enforcement - keeping their eyes out for the person carrying a suitcase of backpack who casually sets it down near the sidewalk or curb amid the crowds near the finish line. That might have helped, but then, that's just hindsight. But if and when we do learn who the perpetrator(s) was, it still won't undo the mayhem, BUT we may learn more about how we might have been better prepared. And that's a good thing.