Sunday, January 10, 2010

Genocidal Bioweapons

Yesterday I took my car in for maintenance, and, while I sat in the waiting room, I watched a History Channel program called "Last Days on Earth" that listed what it said were the greatest threats facing the Earth and humankind. Number two on the list, just behind climate change brought on by misguided human activity, was the ominous possibility of a pandemic deadly enough to wipe out virtually all of the human race. A naturally mutated pathogen such as H5N1 could be bad enough, but suppose some nutcake with the knowhow combined something like Ebola with another pathogen as contagious as the common cold and released it. The consequences could be horrifying and catastrophic beyond imagination.

I have to think that this is the greatest single threat we face from terrorism. It seems far more doable than a nuclear bomb and even more devastating. Maybe it won't happen because even the craziest terrorist should realize that once he or she unleashes such an indiscriminately destructive bioweapon, there's no controlling it, and everyone, including the terrorists and their loved ones, will end up being terrorized and probably dead. This defeats the purpose of terrorism--to terrorize one group to benefit another. But there may be capable people who really ARE demented enough, perhaps with the ungodly help of warped religious apocalypticism, to perpetrate this genocidal act in the name of a justly wrathful Allah or God or whomever, and that will be that. Talk about Pandora's Box!

One of my big concerns with shows like "Last Days" is that they may help to bring about the horrific cataclysms they talk about by giving the right person the wrong idea at the right time to spur them to successfully act on it. Of course, the same thing could be said about this blogpost, with the major difference being that yours truly may now be about the only one reading this blog any longer. I think it's a pretty safe bet that Osama has "better" things to do with his time.

But still I wonder if and when the pandemic of all pandemics will come, and I hope to God it's no time soon.

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