This weekend I went to see the movie Stronger, about Jeff Bauman, the young man in “that photo” who lost both of his legs in the Boston Marathon. One of the most gripping scenes in the movie was when Bauman saw the bomber. It was done subtly, as though to demonstrate how easy it would have been to miss. Yet, Bauman remembered what he saw. He knew at the time that something was off. But he brushed off the moment and turned back to the race. What if he had been able to easily report the suspicious man and his unusual behavior in a moment’s notice?
Today we woke up to yet another violent attack, the deadliest shooting in US history, in Las Vegas. We send our condolences to the victims and their families, and hope for full recovery for the many injured.
We’re also angry – as many are. How do we combat these incidents? How can we help? Our mission at ELERTS is focused on just this – allowing people to easily report suspicious behavior and help to derail such planned attacks before they happen.
Could a crowdsourced mobile alert app have prevented the shooter from succeeding in his evil mission? We can’t be sure. But we do know that when people report suspicious individuals and behavior, police are in a better position to stop violent acts.
While investigators in Vegas are now talking to eye witnesses to try and piece together what happened, we are reminded how valuable the public’s eyes and ears are when they act as a source of early warning for police. Sometimes the early warning is enough to stop the bad guys from committing their assault on innocent people. Apps that enable the public to quickly and anonymously report what they are seeing can make a difference. Many people are nervous to say anything directly – they don’t want to get involved. But when you give them a powerful tool to connect with police in the moment, without having to worry about getting pulled into the fray, they will share what they observed. We all want the same thing – a more peaceful, more safe world. Speaking up – even anonymously – is crucial to making this happen.
That is why we will continue our mission here at ELERTS: to empower the public to communicate with police and report what they see. The public can help – you can help. When you see something, say something.
Let’s continue to fight, together.