LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE BUSTING ON STEVE LEVITT for trying to think like the enemy. I understand the point, but there’s lots of this kind of brainstorming going on at jihadist sites anyway. Plus, presumably the NYT will harvest IP addresses and turn them over to the FBI, thus ensuring America’s safety.
UPDATE: Robert Mayer emails:
It is exactly because of the firestorm surrounding Steve Levitt’s comments that the blogosphere is becoming increasingly unreadable at the general level. Not only is it simply impossible to find something to become offended by and infuriated at on a daily basis, but it is even harder to do so about such stupid things.
In just about every terrorism class at any university in the country, students must think like terrorists in order to judge what they might do. In my own class, our final project was to plot our own terrorist attack and present it to the class. (We hacked and brought down the electricity grid, followed by an attack in a blacked out city).
Don’t intelligence analysts do this every day when they’re tracking down foreign jihadis? Don’t Homeland Security officials do this every day when thinking about the most vulnerable parts of our country?
I hope they are, because if they aren’t, I’m more worried about that than some smart comments that Steve Levitt made.
Yeah, people need to calm down a bit.