Monday, March 14, 2005

Count me as unimpressed by the report that Zarqawi might target schools in the United States... it reminds me of back when Amazon would gain a few billion in market cap every time they announced they would enter a new market. It didn't matter that Amazon wasn't (then) making any money in the markets in which they were already operating. It didn't matter that Amazon had no evidence that the public would buy via the Internet whatever it was that Amazon was going to offer, or that the dynamics of selling that particular product lent itself to a successful business model. Investors just bid up the price, only to get burned - and quite badly - when all the smoke cleared.

I see the same thing happening with the announcements of potential terror threats. Every day it seems as if there's yet another warning about some vulnerability we have. Today, it's schools and movie theaters. In the past, it's been shipping that we've been 'warned' that is at risk. It's been power plants. It's been the Inauguration, the political conventions, the Super Bowl and the World Series. And, every time one of these warnings comes out, the media goes all atwitter, some doofus on Capitol Hill runs for a microphone, and regular folks are left worrying.

I know there are people in the world who would like to hurt us. But while some threats are likely, some are merely possible, and still others are just wisps of someone's attention seeking imagination. Had there been a way of separating the wheat from the chaff and the sizzle from the steak back in the 90s, we all could have saved a whole lot of money. And were there a way to do the same thing now - separate the serious from the ridiculous - we'd all be sleeping a lot better...