[FoRK] Re: Re: Katrina - National Guard??

Eugen Leitl eugen
Fri Sep 2 08:33:33 PDT 2005

On Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 11:10:38AM -0400, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> I wouldn't say that automobiles are a "more immanent threat".  They are 

You're right. Automobile casualties are nothing in comparison to 
unhealthy lifestyle, an entirely avoidable risk. In the civilized
world, it's the biggest killer of them all.

Unsurprisingly, as people are incapable of rational risk assessment,
they're preoccupied with wildly improbable scenarios, while showing
a healthy blind spot towards the real bloppers.

> a tool that has an associated risk of "failure".  Terrorism, like crime 
> at least to some extend, falls into a category of "unnecessary risk" 
> that should be avoidable.  You could argue that the cost of civilization 

Lacking multiple high-yield nuclear weapons in the hands of EvilDoers!(tm), 
and no exacerbating personal factors, your personal risk is indistinguishable 
from zero. 

I wouldn't lose a minute of your thoughts over it.

> is some degree, or at least pressure for, crime, but we feel that it is 
> something that is broken and fixable.
> Only weapons and acts of mass destruction worry me.  Individual car 
> bombs or whatever are less likely to affect me than a random accident.  
> When we had the snipers in DC, although it was a new and interesting 
> threat, it was not really a concern, and I was driving on the beltway 
> and getting gas nearby the whole time.

Sounds sensible.
> You're right, it's the irrational boost that is the real problem.  The 
> threat of fear itself you might say.
> It is interesting how 600 people were trampled to death because of the 
> rumor of a nearby car/person bomb.

Why is this interesting? Mob stampedes happen, and casualties are frequent,
though usually not on such a large scale.

> Would all people have reacted the same way?  What would a rowdy crowd of 
> stereotypical "Texas redneck shit kickers" have done?  I imagine that 
> the more protective / macho among us would have been more likely to run 
> toward the supposed danger to do something about it.

You can't run in a mob. You'd have trouble staying on your feet, and not
get trampled to death.
The total IQ of a mob approaches the freezing point of water.
> Is it so hard to A) avoid gathering in groups in areas of known fanatics 

It doesn't help much, if you're a religious fanatic yourself.
Say, do you attend mass sport events?

> and B) work out grouping rules that avoid anyone secretly joining a 
> group without being searched in sparse areas?  Wearing all those 
> "moddest" robes doesn't work out so well when you are trying to find 
> those with a belt of explosives.

You should travel more to Central Asia. Scrap that, that's one of the
more dangerous things you could do.
> At least we know we're safe on beaches and many night clubs: you have to 
> show skin to be in.

I would stay away from nightclubs in Indonesia and raves in Utah. 
That'd be also a personal factor.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.leitl.org
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE

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