MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Welcome to "Metro Connection." I’m Rebecca Sheir and this week our theme is Law and Order. Now, something you may or may not know about "Metro Connection" is those weekly themes we explore, you know, faith, freedom, change, what have you, we pick those topics way in advance. Sometimes it's weeks, sometimes it's months. And that was precisely the case with this week's theme. A while back we got it in our heads to do a show called Law and Order. We figured we would do some stories about law enforcement, maybe law school, but then this happened.
MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Those two explosions at the Boston Marathon's finish line on Monday certainly defied the law and disturbed the order for people in Boston and beyond. So we begin today's show by reflecting on what Monday's incident has meant for folks here in the D.C. region, many of whom can vividly recall moments when our own city has been a target of attack. Our reporter, Emily Berman, has been out and about talking with people this week and she joins us now, to share what she's learned. Hi, Emily.
MS. EMILY BERMAN
All right. So tell us, what have you been hearing as you've spoken with people in Washington?
Well, one of the first places people turn at moments like this is to faith. So I visited Reverend Julia Jarvis, who is the spiritual director of the Interfaith Families Project. It's a religious community for families raising their children to be both Christian and Jewish.
REV. JULIA JARVIS
It makes me sick. There's anger, there's deep, deep sadness.
Jarvis is a runner and she told me this brought her back to years ago when she ran the Marine Corps Marathon.
The little boy that was killed, who was 8, was standing there at the finish line waiting for his dad to cross. What it reminded me of was when my little girls, who were 8, waited for me to run at the end of the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon and how I grabbed both of them and we ran to the finish line together. I'm sure that little boy just was so psyched his dad was doing this and had such pride and such joy. And then this horrible thing happens.
Jarvis says the most important thing is to feel the pain of what happened, but then move on and choose not to feel victimized by it.
So you mentioned Jarvis is a runner. I’m guessing an incident like this would hit the running community especially hard.
That's what I was hearing. There's an area of Rock Creek Park right near the Woodley Park Metro and tons of runners pass through there. Just about everyone I spoke to there said it's devastating to see something as prestigious and amazing as the Boston Marathon become associated with terrorism. One of the runners I met is Shenyi Wu.
MR. SHENYI WU
It is incredibly saddening and, you know, actually makes us want to run more.
Kelsey Owen is a long-distance runner and says it wasn't hard to imagine this happening at one of the races she's run.
MS. KELSEY OWENS
It gives me, but it really gives me a whole new appreciation for the crowd who's out there cheering and for the volunteers who are dedicating their time to help people fulfill their dreams and to do something that they've been wanting to accomplish.
Diana Neilson (sp?) is another runner I met there. She's training for her first marathon.
MS. DIANA NEILSON
I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. So you never know. It could have been at any large scale event. So the tragedies at Boston kind of made me reevaluate, you know. I'm little bit nervous now about running.
Well, it seems like there was some of that, that nervousness and anxiety around the region this week, especially after those letters that were sent to President Obama and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, the ones that tested positive for the toxin Ricin. Did you get a sense of whether people in D.C. are feeling less safe?
The sense I got was that people feel like what happened in Boston could have happened anywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1
I don't know that there's a bulls eye over D.C. more than any other city. I think that people who want to hurt us will look for any opportunity. Unfortunately, there's crazies everywhere.
That was Yoni Zamir (sp?), a lawyer in the District. And while, as Zamir said, crazy stuff can happen anywhere, here in Washington law enforcement agencies have upped their presence all around the city.
And what about security at upcoming races here? What's the plan for that?
Good question. Washington has more major races than any other city. We're just now beginning race season, which goes from about the end of March through October. And every weekend there are dozens of organized races. This weekend the biggest race is the George Washington Parkway 10 Miler. The race organizers told me, within 45 minutes of the bombings they were on the phone with the National Park Service and the city of Alexandria to coordinate enhanced security, more police, canine units, that sort of thing.
Do you get the sense that runners here will hold back from entering races this season as a result of what happened earlier this week?
The answer I got to that is no. I asked Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a professor of sports management at George Washington University. Neirotti says this reminds her of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. A bomb exploded in a public area where visitors were gathering, one person was killed and more than 100 people were injured.
MS. LISA DELPY NEIROTTI
And this happened the first week of the games. So many people thought that was going to be the end, nobody was going to come out. But actually it had the reverse effect. There's never been an Olympic Games that's sold as many tickets as Atlanta.
Neirotti says the bombings will likely raise the profile of the Boston Marathon, which is already known as the Holy Grail of races. I don't know what's higher than the Holy Grail, but that's what she says the Boston race may become.
Well, Emily Berman, thank you so much for joining us today.
Runners have organized public events all over the city for this weekend and next in support of Boston. We have more information all about it on our website, metroconnection.org.
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