August 07, 2005

Just Chill

When crises roll around, people don't panic nearly as much as we've been lead to believe, says Baruch Fischhoff: "Studies of civilians' intense experiences in the London Blitz; the cities of Japan and Germany in World War II; the 1947 smallpox outbreak in New York; the earthquake in Kobe, Japan, in 1995; and even fires have found that people, however stressed, almost always keep their wits and elevate their humanity." Ditto for terrorist attacks, it seems. On the other hand, it's very easy to stir up panic before a crisis hits. All we need are, say, a few color-coded flash cards from the Department of Homeland Security and experts warning us that the next attack will produce chaos and mayhem. Ah, chaos and mayhem.
-- Brad Plumer 8:25 PM || ||