Hypothetical Terrorism Plots

by Sean Hackbarth

Was it responsible for Steven Levitt, Freakonomist, to ask readers what they thought would be really good ways to terrorize Americans? Michelle Malkin and many of her commenters don’t think so. Malkin writes,

I’m less concerned that terrorists will get ideas from the Freakonomics author’s blog than I am about the message Levitt’s flippancy sends.

We are at war. Leave counterterrorism planning and analysis to the experts who have dedicated their lives to preventing another jihadi mass murder.

I’m conflicted. Since the Sep. 11 attacks I’ve thought about how I think al Qaeda could have been more effective in scaring the hell out of the U.S. I’ve even sat around with friends and talked about it. A post even appeared about how attacking a Midwest shopping mall would “implant one heck of a cocoon effect pushing the economy into deep recession (although online retailers would make a killing).” Being creative, thinking out loud, and throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks could be very effective in planning for future terrorist attacks. Experts are fine, but the experts let us down Sep. 11, 2001. If fiction writers like Tom Clancy and Dale Brown why not an economist of Levitt’s stature?

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