Peter Krause will discuss the causes and effects of terrorism in general and the 2013 Boston Marathon attacks in particular. He will present findings from his own research on the role of education, emotion, and community resilience in the difficult choices faced by societies in the aftermath of terrorist attacks.
On April 15, 2013, two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and injuring nearly 265 others. In reaction, Boston College political science professor Peter Krause wrote a stirring letter to the The Heights urging the BC community to respond with resilience and solidarity.
On the anniversary of the bombings, the Boisi Center invited Krause to expand upon his call to hope and resilience, drawing upon his scholarly expertise in political violence and security. He spoke to a packed audience in Higgins Hall on the evening of April 8.
Krause began by noting that terrorism seeks to inspire fear through apparently indiscriminate violence. But we shouldn’t overstate the threat inside the U.S., where more people have been killed by lightning strikes since 2002 than terrorists. Most domestic terror attacks have come from “lone wolf” actors, not global organizations like al-Qaeda, and they have not forced significant political concessions. The Boston Marathon bombing, Krause argued, was a particular failure because it neither changed American foreign policy nor ruined the beloved event. Quite the opposite: the marathon will now be run every year as a symbol of resilience and hope.
Indeed, resilience counteracts the fear that terrorism seeks to instill. Community cohesion prevents alienation and reduces the root causes of terrorism by building social bonds that we can draw upon as we cope with trauma or debate how to enact sounder security policies. From the heroic reactions of first responders to the inspiring stories of survivors like BC alumna Brittany Loring, Boston exhibited impressive resilience in the wake of last year’s bombings.
Krause encouraged the audience to continue building hope and resilience by serving the communtiy, meeting new neighbors and friends, learning more about terrorism and foreign policy, and remembering the names of the bombing victims. Making good on his 2013 promise, Krause successfully completed the 2014 marathon less than two weeks later.
Books and Journal Articles
Richard Betts, Daniel Byman, and Martha Crenshaw, "Comments on John Mueller's 'Six Rather Unusual Propositions about Terrorism'," Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 17, No. 4 (2005) pp. 507-521.
Peter Krause, "The Structure of Success: How the Internal Distribution of Power Drives Armed Group Behavior and National Movement Effectiveness," International Security, Vol. 38, No. 3 (2013) pp. 72-117.
Peter Krause, "The Political Effectiveness of Non-State Violence: At Two-Level Framework to Transform a Deceptive Debate," Security Studies, Vol. 22, No. 2 (2013).
Andrew Kydd and Barbara Walter, "The Strategies of Terrorism," International Security, Vol. 31, No. 1 (2006) pp. 56-80.
John Mueller, "Six Rather Unusual Propositions about Terrorism," Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 17 No. 4 (2005) pp.487-505.
John Yoo and David Cole, "Counterterrorism and the Constitution: Does Providing Security Require a Trade-off with Civil Liberties?" in Gottlieb, Debating Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Ch. 11, pp. 345-379.
News Articles and Other Sources
"Boston Public Library to Host Marathon Memorial Exhibit," 90.9 Wbur, Mar. 6, 2014.
J.M. Hirsch, "Boston Bombing Overview: The Unfolding of a 5-Day Manhunt for Suspects," The Huffington Post, Apr. 21 2013.
Peter Krause, "Looking for a signature in blast's makeup," The Rachel Maddow Show, Apr. 16, 2013.
Peter Krause, "LTE: BC Should Respond to Attacks with Renewed Community Spirit," The Heights, Apr. 15, 2013.
Peter Krause and Sean Lynn-Jones, "Episode 22: Peter Krause and International Security editor Sean Lynn-Jones on structure and national movement effectiveness," MIT Press Journals Podcast Series, Jan. 17, 2014.
"Plans Announced For Boston Marathon Tribute," CBS Boston, Feb. 13, 2014.
"President Obama's Address At Boston Memorial Service," Huffington Post, Apr. 18, 2013.
Shira Schoenberg, "Boston Strong 2014: City grapples with how to memorialize tragedy of 2013 Boston Marathon bombings," MassLive, Dec. 27, 2013.
"Text of Governor Deval Patrick's speech at the interfaith memorial service," Boston.com, Apr. 18, 2013.
"Text of Menino's speech," Boston Globe, Mar. 28, 2013.
Reactions and Responses from Boston College
Sam Constanzo, "Campus School Volunteers To Host Separate Marathon," The Heights, Mar. 18, 2014.
Sara Doyle, "Panelists Consider Strength of Boston Post-Marathon," The Heights, Oct. 31, 2013.
Sean Smith, "Marathon Tragedy and Aftermath Tests University Community," The BC Chronicle, Apr. 25, 2013.
Jennifer Suh, "CSON Sponsors Project To Plant Daffodils for Boston Marathon," The Heights, Nov. 11, 2013.
Kathleen Sullivan, "Students Look to Explore Meaning of 'Boston Strong'," The BC Chronicle, Oct. 31, 2013.