asymmetrical advantage of terrorism
Monday, June 21 2004
I was trying to psyche myself up to do some computer work, the kind for which I am supposedly paid, when I received an email forwarded by Gretchen from Dina. It was a picture of Eleanor and Gretchen out on the farthest reaches of the Stick Trail, about a mile and a half from home.
I couldn't really sit at my desk after seeing that. I felt compelled and inspired to immediately take the dogs for a walk.
The first order of business was to beef up the sticks in one place on a side trail where they'd been vandalized. There's no competing with my compulsions; I went crazy and positioned a couple logs that I could barely move, gradually weaving them between trees so they couldn't easily be slid in any direction. The great thing about the Stick Trail is that it takes about as much energy to repair as it does to vandalize, and I will always be more motivated than any vandal. It's rare to find human creations having this feature. Think, for example, of how little money (an estimated $500,000) was necessary to completely destroy the World Trade Center along with 3000 people. The damage and subsequent response to that act, if (as the Bush administration insists) we include the invasion of Iraq, has now consumed well in excess of 200 billion dollars. That's a bang-to-buck ratio of 400,000:1. Talk about weapons of mass destruction all you want; I don't think nuclear bombs have that kind of yield. It's a classic example of the asymmetrical advantage of terrorism. Fortunately, my Stick Trail doesn't have this vulnerability.
I doubled back to the main line of the Stick Trail and headed out beyond where Dina's photo had been taken, eventually coming back home using the Funky Pond Summit Trail. The pond itself had been reduced to a patch of mud, but I found a large snapping turtle resting in a shallow hole he'd dug for himself. It was odd to see such an aquatic beast within ten vertical feet of the second highest summit of the Kingston West Quadrangle, but these creatures are legendary for their cross-country colonizations of isolated wetlands.
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