Taking the Nerve Out of Terrorism   [open pdf - 261KB]

"Commuters laden with briefcases, purses, and newspapers scurry to get to work on time. Tourists juggling cameras, maps, and strollers try to get their bearings. Students dragging backpacks and books linger as long as possible. For metropolitan transit systems across the Nation, its a typical morning. But this morning could turn out not to be typical. This could be the morning terrorists plan to strike with a nerve agent. On just such a morning in 1995, members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult struck against the passengers on the Tokyo subway system. At a predetermined time, cult members used umbrella tips to puncture newspaperwrapped bags of the liquid nerve agent sarin as they got off their trains. By the time it was all over, 12 people had died and thousands who touched the liquid itself or inhaled its vapors were injured. Through the efforts of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG), and TIAX LLC, a collaborative research and development company, the likelihood of a similar attack in the United States should be reduced dramatically in the near future."

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TECH Beat (Winter 2005)
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