The gist of retired Air Force Col. Randall Larsen's view of our homeland security is that we should not be scared of regular terrorist attacks that may kill a few thousand people against the background of more than 800,000 who've died of natural causes like car accidents, food poisoning, and medical mistakes since 9/11 ["Getting Real About Threats," September 3].
What we should beware of is a possibility of a biological or a nuclear attack. Although a director of the Institute for Homeland Security, Larsen probably does not understand that the main consequence of a terrorist attack is to create havoc disrupting the normal functioning of our society: our transport, economy, and communication system. Blowing up a bridge, a tunnel, or even a single subway station will not result in many deaths, but the devastating effect of such an act on the stability of our society is difficult to overestimate. After 9/11, it took almost five years for our airline transportation system to recover. If we disregard terrorist attacks, then they will escalate, as does criminal activity when law enforcement is dormant. I am not sure that disseminating such a philosophy brings any good to understanding the extremely complex situation we live in.
Genrich L. Krasko
Larsen has offered the sanest, most rational understanding of the threats of terrorism that I have come across. Now, if only our politicians and security agencies in Washington, D.C., would take his advice seriously and place the threats in appropriate context.
C. Conrad Cherry