Stoddard: Manchester Concert Bombing Could Have Lessons for U.S.

The bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester brought home a central lesson about security that reaches across the Atlantic to Montgomery County:

“We can build concentric circles around our soft targets, our airports … and at some point, the security barriers end.”

Those are the words of Dr. Earl Stoddard, ‎director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

According to news reports, at least 22 people have died, including at least one 8-year-old. Nearly 60 people were taken to local hospitals. The bomber struck the center of the city, between Manchester Arena and the Victoria Train Station. Manchester is about 200 mile north of London and about 35 miles east of Liverpool.

Police have identified 22-year-old Salman Abedi as the suicide bomber. An unnamed 23-year-old man has been arrested, police said. ISIS has claimed responsibility, news reports say.

Stoddard said it might take a few days before some lessons emerge. One of them could rest in how parents in the United Kingdom often drop off children to concerts, then come back to pick them up. The arriving parents, Stoddard said, might not be subject to security measures.

“Ultimately could this outcome occurred by the person waiting outside the security barriers. The answer is probably yes. It’s a difficult problem,” Stoddard said. “At some point, the security barriers end.”

Stoddard said that the public needs to be educated to identify someone who looks out of place.

“The ‘See Something, Say Something’ mantra will continue,” he said.

He also said the community needs to identify the people who could be susceptible to becoming radicalized, and get them help before they’re a threat to themselves or others

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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