You Could Die Any Second
Prof Wein found milk was particularly vulnerable to an attack. If someone were to put just 10 grams of botulinum toxin into a milk tanker, it could have devastating effects.
"If we didn't realise what was happening, half a million people would drink this milk... most of these would be poisoned, roughly half of them would die," he concluded.
Scary stuff, but critics said this was preposterous: obtaining even a tiny amount of toxin was a lot harder than Prof Wein suggested.
The article goes on to discuss how America’s agribusiness set-up — with a relatively few companies overseeing huge megafarms — keeps our food supply more concentrated than most, and thus more vulnerable to attack. Congressmen from farm states are getting anti-terrorist funding for their districts, while Congressmen from other states call this pork.
I’m not sure what it is. Food attacks might be plausible, but I’ve got a major city reservoir a couple of miles away from my house and every day thousands of cars drive on the low road that crosses it. It’s just as plausible that a terrorist could put a small but deadly toxin in the city water supply and kill as many people as botulism in a milk truck. Should we spend anti-terrorism dollars defending the reservoir? There’s more than just the road involved; there’s all the parkland and private property on the shores of the reservoir. And then there’s the hundreds of other reservoirs in my state to consider. And then the rest of America.
How do we decide which terror threats are serious enough to guard against?