Wednesday, October 31, 2001


From Harry Broertjes:
I should point out something that I don't believe any reporters, writers, columnists or commentators have mentioned so far as anthrax anxiety continues to grip the vitals of our nation. It's this:

We shouldn't give the perpetrator(s) a whole lot of credit. Whoever they are, they've got to be mightily pissed off. They wanted to assassinate the leaders of Congress, the Supreme Court, the icons of American broadcasting and miscellaneous other high-level officials in Washington. All those targets remain healthy. Who did they get instead? A few regular postal workers and a tabloid photo editor. The perps can't be happy about that. The fish they were after were a lot bigger.

Yet everyone in the country is acting as though these cases of anthrax are part of a carefully thought-out plan. What they probably are, in reality, are the results of a major screw-up.

Well, not everyone -- a few End-Time doom-and-gloomers, perhaps, but the most panicky -- discounting postal workers and a few congressman who have actually stared the threat of real bioterrorism in the face -- are those who have a visible platform in The Media. (Disclosure: Harry works for The Media.) Most of the folks I know here on Earth-Real Life -- in fact, everyone I actually know well enough that I come into contact with them daily -- is taking the Anthrax Menace in stride, and merely adjusting their Risk Assessment Barometers accordingly. Statistically, it's still far more likely that any one New Yorker will be struck and killed by a bike messenger than encounter a killer dose of anthrax in the course of their day-to-day activities. Instinctively or intellectually, we all know this here on Earth Real.

But still, it's fun to watch all those chattering cable-heads at work, ain't it!

[Breaking news] Word comes this morning that the Bronx woman -- a stockroom employee at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in Midtown who was among the very few known cases of inhalation anthrax -- has now become the fourth casualty of this "major screw-up." Time to ratchet up my Risk Assessment Barometer up by a fraction of a notch, I guess. Meanwhile, I've got deadlines to meet...


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