Responding to Terror : Life Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing

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Procedures are great. Solutions are better.

[Tweet “”Procedures are great. Solutions are better.” @ChiefLinskey”]

On April 15th, 2013, the largest domestic terrorist incident since the 9/11 attack hit the city of Boston and the surrounding communities.

Two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring an estimated 264 others.

What ensued was one of the largest and most complex tactical responses in the history of civilian law enforcement, involving an unprecedented shut-down of the city, multi-community collaboration, a pioneering use of social media to identify suspects as well as gun battles, car chases and further bombings.  It was an intense and harrowing manhunt for the two terrorists responsible, ultimately ending in the successful capture of the one remaining suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

If you train the way you fight, you will fight the way you train.

[Tweet “”If you train the way you fight, you will fight the way you train.” @ChiefLinskey”]

It could not have been accomplished without the thousands of well-trained law enforcement personnel and the astonishing assistance of civilians, but at the middle of it all was one figure, tying everything together – Boston Police Chief Daniel Linskey.  And preparations for such a response began years earlier, under his direction.

Chief Linskey joins me today on Remarkably Human Radio to discuss the lessons learned from the Boston Marathon Bombing.

I recently had an opportunity to meet Chief Linskey at an event that we were both presenting at, and his 2-plus hour keynote was an intense ride.  Simultaneously inspirational and terrifying, I laugh quite a bit as a result of his good humor and expert comedic timing, and cried my eyes out with his equally expert ability to tell stories that tug at one’s heart strings.  But most of all, I learned some phenomenal lessons in being extraordinary.

You can never put a value on training, until a crisis happens…

[Tweet ““You can never put a value on training, until a crisis happens…” @ChiefLinskey”]

Chief Linskey’s talk was entitled Leadership Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing, but they go far beyond leadership.  They are life lessons that we can all benefit from, and on this episode he shares them with the Remarkably Human community.



  • How the police were prepared to deal with “active shooters” but not “active terrorists.”
  • The best way to train for terrorist response & how Boston trained over 3,000 first-responders
  • The importance of specificity of training.
  • What is “amygdala hijack?”
  • Why the Boston Police maintain a team of “Evil Geniuses.”
  • The logistics of getting 224 people to a hospital in 22 minutes (and why they are all alive today).
  • Why you should never have a “not my job” mentality.
  • How Chief Linskey transformed his intense emotional response into the coolest, most calm he’s ever been.
  • How social media helped to identify the suspects, and the challenges of rapidly searching 29 terabytes of information.
  • What to do when you run out of ambulances in an emergency.
  • Why too much help is a bad thing.
  • How flawed intelligence slowed down the manhunt.
  • Why waiting for orders is a bad thing, and why one should always take initiative.

Want to reach Daniel Linskey?  Connect with him on Twitter or directly via email.  And stay tuned for an announcement of his book.  He shared a few of the details with me and it’s going to be incredible.  When it goes to print, I’ll announce it right here!

The moment that you become mechanical is when things start falling apart.

[Tweet ““The moment that you become mechanical is when things start falling apart.””]


This was the career topper.

[Tweet ““This was the career topper.” @ChiefLinskey on the Boston Marathon Bombing”]


The past month of Remarkably Human Radio has been an extraordinary ride.  We’ve gone from an audience of literally zero to being ranked the #2 Philosophy Podcast on the iTunes New & Noteworthy list.  The show has also hit #2 in Health, #3 in Science & Medicine, #4 in Society & Culture and is currently ranked (as of this hour) #19 overall for all new podcasts.  That’s a pretty good run for the first month!

And I could not have done it without you.  You’re the reason that I produce this show – to share amazing ideas from, with and about remarkable humans.  I hope to help uncover extraordinary information that enables you to optimize your life and be remarkable in your own life.  And you’ve responded with your downloads, your emails, your tweets and your reviews.



I would love to hit the #1 spot during this next month.  So if you haven’t already, please head to the iTunes store, write a review (even a short one is appreciated!) and leave us a 5-star rating.  That will help to keep me producing the show, tracking down incredible guests and connecting with you each and every week.



Do you have ideas for the show?  Suggestions for a new guest or topic that you’d like to hear covered?  Comments on this particular episode?  Leave your feedback below in the “comments” section.  I love hearing from you!

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