I tried to avoid writing this section at all, but this topic just won't go away. In light of recent world events, it only seems prudent to have a section devoted to that which the media loves so dearly.

It's all about you.

Terrorism is, according to Webster, "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion". That coercion may come in the form of a baseball bat, or as a nuclear weapon. There need not be any real danger at all, just the psychological threat of danger. That's an incredibly important point to remember here, because just like any other emergency, fear (before, during, or after) is not your friend. A terrorist does not have to actually bring the war to your doorstep, they need only make you think that the next bomb will be for you. Once you start to act in fear, they have achieved their goal.

Okay, does this mean that you wait around, pretending not to be effected by the news media, and tell yourself that it won't happen to you? Of course not. Just like an earthquake or a tornado, you should take appropriate and necessary steps to prepare, (and here's the hard part) without feeding the already existing sense of fear that you harbor. As I have said elsewhere, it's easy to become a fanatic. This kind of paranoia feeds off of itself. You prepare in order to relieve the stress you feel over being in possible danger, but the act of preparing makes you think about the very thing that you are trying to relax about. And think you will. It's not like the media is going to give you a break and talk about how wonderfully safe we all are in the good ol' USA. Somebody sneezes at the Whitehouse, and CNN will have a news van parked outside on the street in twenty minutes calling it a biological attack. It's on every channel of your TV, the radio in your car, the magazines you read, even your spam, er... email.

A perfect example of how much power the media has over us was made evident in a recent event in which the Homeland Security division of the government put us on "HIGH" alert for possible terrorist activities. Did anything actually happen? It doesn't matter. Americans everywhere raced down to their local WalMart and cleaned the shelves of duct tape and plastic sheeting. The page views on my site for that week were ten times my usual. We're we overreacting? Who knows? But can't you just see Osama Bin Laden sitting in a comfy bunker someplace, laughing his ass off at the silly Americans. His goal was achieved, and it didn't cost him more than a few bucks for a video tape. He just records himself making a threat, and sees to it that some drooling reporter get's a copy to the States. BINGO, instant terror.

So what can we do to prepare? To be honest, very little. Let's look at a few of the possibilities and see what they mean to us.

Biological Attacks:

In most cases stay in your home and avoid human contact. If you want to go all out, get yourself a surgical mask rated N95. It's no guarantee, but it could help. Unfortunately, the area of infection may be fairly large, so leaving it could be difficult. Listen to the news reports for care, vaccines and antibiotics. Drink only stored water and food if possible as public supplies could already be contaminated. It might be a good idea to store a few gallons of extra bleach, and keep some in the toilet at all times.

Chemical Attacks:

Stay upwind. Get out of the area of the contamination if at all possible. If you have to stay in your home, you might be able to seal off vents, doors and windows, but chemicals of this nature dissipate rather quickly, so unless you have a place in your home that is already sealed, it would probably be a better bet to simply get in your car and go stay with a friend or relative for a few days.

Bombs, nuclear or otherwise:

What are you going to do? If you know where a bomb is going to be, you won't be there. So you wont know. You can't prepare. That doesn't mean that you have to be an idiot either, however. If the nation suddenly goes to "red" alert, it might be prudent to stay away from places where large numbers of people might gather. Beyond that, any preparation is entirely mental.

Yup, that's the end alright...