DP, I hear what you're saying and I don't disagree, but the reality is that it's nearly impossible to prevent something like this from happening, even if the POTUS were going to run -- which he never would because it would be impossible to secure the entire route.
I don't mean to say that we shouldn't try harder or that canvasing an area hasn't worked before, but if someone has enough intent they can do anything they want. Boots on the ground and multiple eyes watching definitely works, but the slippery slope where that leads is a realization that more boots are better, and that someone has to watch all the time -- otherwise it's trivial for an observant criminal to wait until the watcher turns his head to look at something else.
The problem is that there's no definitive action we can take to prevent guerrilla warfare or terrorism like this without further eroding the freedoms that make this country great. We want to feel safe but don't accept that we're never actually going to be safe. Cameras on every street corner and drones in the sky will not prevent this from happening. We're accustomed to giving up privacy for our protection, which isn't always a bad thing, but because 100% protection 100% of the time is impossible, we end up created arbitrary rules that protect against the unlikeliest of threats -- like taking your shoes off in the airport.
X-raying footwear is security theater that makes us feel better about doing something to counter an attack, but it actually does very little to prevent a real attack. The point of terrorism is to terrorize, and for many years we've been told it's too dangerous to fly with little pointy objects and small quantities of liquid. The collective fear means the terrorists are winning. If they find that these bombs were put in garbage cans, someone will suggest that the government should allot money to make all garbage cans bomb-proof.
There's no correct answer to any of this, yet there are lots of wrong answers (not suggesting you or anyone else here is wrong). We accept certain dangers when we surf -- sharks, drowning, kooks -- yet we continue to surf. We shouldn't kill all the sharks, pave over the sharp coral, or require a license to operate a surfboard. I knew people who died in 9/11 and I was and still am angry, but I know the answer wasn't to round up all middle-eastern people or prevent mosques from being built in lower Manhattan. I hope the same reactionary tactics don't happen now. If we find out this was done by white militants from the US, who do we round up? People who exercise their 2nd amendment right who also dislike the government?
OK, that's the end of my rant. I hope we find the mofos who did this and that Boston and the injured fully recover.
Well thought out, rational post. Thanks for sharing, and I certainly see your point. Sorry to hear of your losses from 9/11, I was upset when it happened but didn't lose anybody I knew personally, so I can't quite relate to that, but i'm sure it's one of the worst feelings in the world. Lets hope this is just some random act and not something from N. Korea or another nation or organization, because the way things are right now it might spark a WW.