RealNews

Weighing Your Risks of Becoming a Terror Victim

On Aug. 24, 1940, as German planes were attacking London, Edward R. Murrow stood in Trafalgar Square with a microphone recording the sounds of the blitz. His listeners heard a siren wailing and antiaircraft guns firing, but the broadcast was remarkable for what was not heard. There was no sound of panicked Londoners running for cover. If Murrow had been reporting during the equivalent of our siren last week — the raising of the terrorist threat level from yellow to orange — he might have found some Americans calmly prepared to deal with an attack. But the main sounds probably would have been people complaining about the Homeland Security Department, despairing at unspeakable catastrophes or joking about duct tape. So far on the home front, this is not our finest hour. President Bush did not help morale by warning in his speech Monday night that terrorists could kill “hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country” and wreak “destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth.” Terrorists might well wreak horror in America, but of all the things they could do, how likely is an unprecedented catastrophe on the scale envisioned by Mr. Bush?To scholars who study risk, the president was guilty of the same sin committed by opponents of nuclear power who warn of tens of thousands of deaths from an accident. Dwelling on worst-case scenarios can be useful politically when you’re trying to justify a war or shut down a power plant, but it distracts you from preparing for the problems you’re most liable to face. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.