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Surviving the unthinkable

June 11, 2008

Mother Jones magazine interviews Amanda Ripley, author of The Unthinkable; who survives when disaster strikes, and why.  Here’s an excerpt:

“…citizens are not prepared for attacks because there is a bias against the public by nearly every expert and government official. In emergency preparedness, there is this belief that public will panic, that the public is not to be trusted, that there will be looting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with very smart, knowledgeable Homeland Security experts who are essentially tasked with saving your life who do not trust you with information. They just don’t. They kind of dismiss the media and the public in one fell swoop. A lot of the time you see a warning, in the subway, or in a movie theater, the main thrust of the warning will be to not panic if there is an emergency. To listen to directions. Now that’s a waste. They could have given you information, but you can see their expectation that you’re going to screw up…”

Ripley turned up some surprises while researching the book, and has an interesting take on the psychology of terrorism and those who imagine themselves as possible victims of terrorism.  Check it out.

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