MARY SANCHEZ

After Boston, Trolley Run should bring caution, not fear

Updated: 2013-04-22T06:22:17Z

By MARY SANCHEZ

The Kansas City Star

“In light of recent developments no bags or backpacks will be permitted at the Trolley Run.

Personal items will be transported from the start to the finish line.”

With that declaration posted to the Trolley Run website, Kansas City finds itself bowing to terrorism. It’s a decision that surely would please the two brothers responsible for Boston’s anguish: Terrorize people into discomfort. Make them fearful to resume normal life.

The Trolley Run is among the best-organized family-friendly running events in the metropolitan area. It’s a wonderful Kansas City tradition celebrating its 25th anniversary with next Sunday’s run.

The easy four-mile course is downhill from Waldo to the Plaza. The ending is like a festival because of the many corporate sponsors and the deserving charity — the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired.

In all fairness, Trolley Run organizers have to take the comfort level of participants into account. So this is somewhat understandable so soon after the horrors of last week.

There will be no calming the most anxiety-prone. And any reaction will always be viewed as overreach by some people.

Perhaps even more than 9/11, what happened in Boston brings a scary realism to terror.

No need to concoct elaborate plans — learning to fly and hijacking airplanes. Look what two disturbed brothers and two pressure cookers full of shrapnel managed. And anywhere that people gather is a potential target.

But Boston didn’t flinch.

The massive levels of respect that city earned in the past week came because of the steely way residents did what was necessary to lock down, find the culprits, take care of victims and begin looking ahead to a safer future.

A definite “you don’t mess with Boston” vibe was present shortly after the bombings and continues to grow.

In time, extra security sweeps and more distance between bystanders and runners at a finish line may prove sufficient for local races.

The problem for events like the Trolley Run is that it caters to families. Leisure walkers, people with strollers and lots of children mean that parents need to also cart along the extras that tend to accompany little ones and babies. And that often calls for bags and backpacks.

A race catered solely to elite runners would be an easier security fix.

Lots of discussion will be necessary to make peace with this “new normal.”

A midpoint should be the goal, recognizing our vulnerabilities but not buckling to the mere threat of terror.

We’ll need to become a smarter, yet calmer America.

To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send email to msanchez@kcstar.com.

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