America Needs Small Terrorist Attacks


America desperately needs small terrorist attacks on a regular cadence.

Let me explain:

  1. The American psyche is extremely brittle because we’re used to not being attacked. This is why 9/11 was so debilitating: it was because we thought we were invincible.

  2. There is essentially no way to stop being attacked; we can only learn to react well when it does happen.

  3. Therefore, the best thing for American risk reduction at this point is not better prevention, but better resiliency. We need to be able to get attacked on Monday and go to work on Tuesday.

If one happened next week, a medium to large sized attack in the United States would likely hit our economy for trillions of dollars. But this wouldn’t be the case if we had already had 14 small ones over the previous 2 years.

Things are different now. Terrorists are realizing how easy it is to execute attacks, and it seems as if it can only get easier.

Louis C.K. has a great line about older people going to get a persistent pain fixed at the doctor. He asks the doctor when he can stop taking the medicine, and the doctor says:

No, that’s just what you do now…

And resilience is just what we do now. There will be pipe bombs and shootings. There will be many of them.

Our security depends not on stopping all of them—because that’s not possible. It depends on realizing attacks are inevitable and carrying on with our lives anyway.

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