Saturday, April 5, 2008

Boise: Terrorism Target?

I think I saw this mentioned a while back, but found it so incredible that I didn't pursue it any farther. From April 5, 2008 MSNBC:
Quick: Name the Western U.S. city most vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Is it Los Angeles, with its crowded roads that make quick escape impossible? San Francisco and its iconic bridge? Or Seattle with its Space Needle and busy port?
Try Boise, Idaho, with its, um, potatoes.
A new study funded largely by the Department of Homeland Security ranked 132 American cities according to vulnerability to terrorist attacks. Boise was the only city in the western half of the country to make the top 10.

"Is this a typo or what?" asked Bobbie Patterson, executive director of the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Where in the world did this information come from?"
It came from four years of work and a series of mathematical formulas developed by Walter W. Piegorsch, a professor at the University of Arizona, with help from Susan Cutter at the University of South Carolina and Frank Hardisty at Pennsylvania State University. The study was published in December by Risk Analysis, a well-regarded journal.
The researchers assessed the vulnerability of each city to a terrorist attack based on three things: socioeconomics, infrastructure, and geophysical hazards such as the potential for flooding or fire.
The analysis measured not whether a city would make an attractive target to a terrorist but rather how well it could withstand an attack, Piegorsch said.
"This wasn't a question of what places a terrorist wants," Piegorsch said. "The targetability is not an issue here; it's the vulnerability if they were targeted."
There was a lot of liberal ridicule of Governor Kempthorne for putting up concrete truck barriers around the statehouse after 9/11. Maybe he wasn't so far off, after all.

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