Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 17, 2014

Little government response to Boston Marathon bombing a year later

BOSTON (AP) — A year after homemade bombs ripped through the Boston Marathon, state and federal officials have enacted virtually no policy changes in response to the attack, a dramatic departure from previous acts of terrorism that prompted waves of government action.

"There was a great deal of concern right after this happened," said Rep. William Keating, a Massachusetts Democrat. "Now, people are focused on so many different issues."

Washington's formal response to the attack has been limited to a series of investigations and reports that call for improved cooperation between the federal government and local law enforcement. In the Massachusetts Statehouse, legislators have created a license plate to honor the victims, while considering modest proposals to reimburse local police departments involved in the frantic search for those behind the attack.

Despite symbolic pledges of support from elected officials across the nation on this week's anniversary, there is little evidence of any significant impact on policy. Instead of allocating new federal resources, funding that helps cities prepare for terrorism may be reduced. And it's unclear if Congress will adopt any legislative remedies to address perceived intelligence failures that leave cities vulnerable to so-called lone wolf strikes.

"This is still an ongoing threat. I don't think there's anybody in law enforcement that would say what happened in Boston couldn't happen anywhere," said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who testified before a congressional panel last year, calling for action.

But the politics of terrorism have changed significantly since Giuliani led his city's response to the 9/11 attacks more than a decade ago.

Polling suggests that terrorism barely registers among voter priorities — even in the months immediately after the April 15, 2013, attack that killed three and wounded more than 260 others gathered around the marathon finish line.

Experts also report that the limited response is due, in part, to the low number of deaths relative to previous terrorist attacks on American soil.

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