Friday, October 5, 2007

The System Continues to Eat Itself

We've reviewed past cases (here, here, here, here and here) where "the System" as embodied by concerned citizens, Law Enforcement or an intel service begins believing the propaganda about "terrorism" (as opposed to focusing on the very real threats) and begins seeing Osama and his minions everywhere, disrupting economic and social life to one degree or another.

Here's another factoid that will grace the pages of some future 4GW handbook for monkeywrenchers, gangs and insurgents:

Burning chilli sparks terror fear
from the BBC

Firefighters wearing protective breathing apparatus were called to D'Arblay Street, Soho, after reports of noxious smoke filling the air.

Police closed off three roads and evacuated homes following the alert. Specialist crews broke down the door to the Thai Cottage restaurant at 1900 BST on Monday where they discovered the source - a 9lb pot of chillies.

The restaurant had been preparing Nam Prik Pao, a red-hot Thai dip which uses extra-hot chillies which are deliberately burnt.

But the smell prompted several members of the public to call the emergency services...

I wonder what the Return on Disruption (cost to execute the activity versus the cost to respond to it) was for this activity? It was unintentional and completely innocent and it tied up all sorts of skilled emergency personnel for hours (actually days, counting all the paperwork and meetings that will result from it).

Every stupid mistake erodes the credibility of nation-state institutions another notch. This will end badly in many Westernized, highly-politicized nations. As we discussed in Catastrophic Abundance - thousands of tiny wounds eventually will cause a major failure of a system, whether it be an automobile, a community or a country.

When the reliability, competence and objectivity of nation-state bureaucracies is replaced by incompetence, corruption and over-reaction to low-threat scenarios, the citizens of that nation-state will find other means to fill in the security gap.

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