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A Civil Defense Against
Terror, Orlando Rodriquez
Terrorism's political strategy is to force the State to accept
social or political change by inciting fear among civilian sectors
of a population, while attempting to gain sympathy from other
civilian sectors whose interests terrorists claim to represent.
Usually, the civilian recipients of terror see themselves as
defenseless without the State's intervention, and they view
counter-terrorist policy as being in the province of the State.
Policy analysts tacitly or explicitly share this view. In reality,
civilian involvement could improve the effectiveness of counter-terrorist
policy. To illustrate this, I discuss three issues around which
citizen groups have organized and are making an impact on public
opinion and policy in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001:
public safety, particularly the Indian Point, New York, nuclear
plant; learning from mistakes by government intelligence agencies
in order to prevent future attacks; and rejection of war and
violence as responses to terror.
Empire of Fear: Imagined
Community and The September 11 Attacks, Ann Larabee
he attacks of 11 September 2001 created a crisis
of legitimacy for the U. S. nation state. To overcome a catastrophic
event that threatened national identity, the Bush administration
evoked fear as the spiritual root of patriotism and the basis
of a renewed security state. The modern rhetoric of crisis management
was combined with a nostalgic rhetoric of national community.
In the new civil defense, all citizens were enlisted to relentlessly
examine their fears so that bodies, minds, neighborhoods, and
ultimately the nation state could be free of terror. These conditions
led to authoritarian efforts to reach deep into citizens' private
lives and purge the body politic of ill-defined invaders, damaging
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Disaster Beliefs and Institutional
Interests: Recycling Disaster Myths in The Aftermath of 9-11,
Research evidence developed over more than five
decades of research on human responses to disasters shows that
those responses are overwhelmingly adaptive and positive. However,
despite what is known, myths about disaster behavior persist.
These include the assumption that the public will panic during
large-scale emergencies and the idea that disasters are best managed
through hierarchies of command and control. Following the tragic
events of September 11, 2001, these myths are again gaining wide
currency even though actual individual, group, and organizational
behavior in the World Trade Center disaster directly contradict
those assumptions. This is no accident. Beliefs concerning the
fragility of the public in the face of emerging homeland security
threats are consistent with the perspectives and objectives of
organizations that seek to expand their influence in the domestic
crisis management arena. These organizational actors, which include
the information technology industry, the intelligence and defense
establishment, and security think tanks, are generally not familiar
with empirical social science research on behavior during disasters
and see little value in public participation in the management
of newly-recognized threats. Recycled disaster myths support a
case for "expertise-based" crisis planning that excludes
the public from those activities.
The Fox and The Hedgehog:
Myopia About Homeland Security in U.S. Policies on Terrorism,
James K. Mitchell
Following the disasters of 9/11/01 the US government has embarked
on what is intended to be a comprehensive response to the hazard
of further terrorist attacks on Americans at home and abroad.
This paper addresses the homeland component of the response and
asserts that both the general approach and the measures being
deployed are neither comprehensive nor well-balanced. The broad
goal of security is losing ground to the narrower objective of
defense; mitigation strategies are being overshadowed by preparedness
and response alternatives; expert systems are preferred over grass-roots
bottom-up ones; and possibilities for reducing human vulnerability
are being ignored in favor of programs that aim to reduce risks
or lessen the vulnerability of built structures and infrastructures.
Preferences for the use of sophisticated technologies that are
intended to quarantine terrorism and minimize its consequences
far outnumber efforts to engage with the messier realm of ideas
and behaviors related to terrorism. Yet it is the latter that
shape the public interpretation of terrorism risks, structure
patterns of exposure and affect the coping capabilities of threatened
communities. Without substantial changes to policy that take account
of these deficiencies, Americans are likely to find themselves
little better prepared to confront the challenges of future terrorist
attacks on targets in US territory and the nation's ability to
address other kinds of hazards may be seriously compromised.
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Terrorism as Disaster:
Selected Commonalities and Long-Term Recovery for 9/11 Survivors,
Brent K. Marshall, J. Steven Picou, Duane A. Gill
The purpose of this article is to apply what social scientists
have learned from decades of research on natural and technological
disasters to better understand the short-term and potential long-term
human impacts of the 9/11 attacks. The short-term response to
the 9/11 attacks was similar to how people and communities typically
respond to natural disasters. One year after the attacks, news
reports suggest that factors identified in technological disaster
research as causing collective trauma, rather than recovery, are
beginning to surface. We identify three patterns typically present
in (but not restricted to) the aftermath of technological disasters
that contribute to slow recovery and ongoing collective trauma
and evaluate the likelihood that these factors will impact the
recovery process for those impacted by the 9/11 attacks. We conclude
that due to perceptions of governmental failure, the likelihood
of protracted litigation, and uncertainty regarding the mental
and physical health of victims, the social and psychological impacts
of the 9/11 attacks will likely be severe and long-term. As such,
the concluding section presents a long-term clinical intervention
program for mitigating these potential chronic impacts and to
facilitate the timely recovery of survivors.
and Converger Legitimacy in Response to The World Trade Center
Disaster, James M. Kendra and Tricia Wachtendorf
The World Trade Center disaster generated many of the features
seen in other disasters in the U.S., including post-disaster convergence.
We conceptualize emergency management activities as taking place
within a multilocational "response milieu," and we suggest
that the study of convergence should focus on the negotiated legitimacy
of people in and wishing to enter it. We discuss the five types
of personal convergers and how the access of each of these groups
to the response milieu was related to their legitimation status.
We then identify two additional forms of convergence: supporters
or fans, and those who came to mourn or to memorialize. We conclude
by discussing implications for policy.
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to Extreme Events: The Problem of Panic and Failing Gracefully,
Disaster and calamity are extreme events that can be used to
glean general lessons about how society works. I use the problem
of panic to develop several ideas. Panic, we know from years of
disaster research, is quite rare at least in the United States.
I consider the implication of this for theories of social behavior
and human nature. I also suggest the idea of "failing gracefully"
as a systems-level notion that highlights the social context of
behavior rather than individual panic. I reconsider findings concerning
"altruistic" and "corrosive" communities.
I critically evaluate the idea of "moral panic," and
end with a consideration of the rhetoric functions of "panic."
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