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Terrorism, a Bridge Collapse, and the Weather

A reader named Mike Friedman writes:

On Wednesday, storms shut down the NYC transit system and a tornado hit Brooklyn. Last week a bridge collapsed in Minnesota.

It seems to me these are in many ways like acts of terrorism in that it is a seemingly random act of disruption/destruction that affects large numbers of people. And yet, the response is very different after the fact.

Any thoughts?

I think Mike raises a good point.

There are obviously a lot of differences between a terrorist attack and a storm, especially the fact that there’s a human villain in one case and not in the other. (Unless you think of us all as villains in a “we cause global warming and global warming causes storms” kind of way.)

The bridge collapse, though closer to the storm, is somewhere in the middle — if the Minnesota tragedy is ever attributed to some agency, company, or person, you can bet that party will publicly be turned into a villain.

It should also be said that preventing terrorism is an entirely different prospect than preventing a bridge collapse or storm damage, even though many smart people obviously work very hard to prevent all three of these in the aftermath of any such event.

And yet, we’ve seen more death and destruction in the last few days via the storm and the bridge collapse than we have seen via terrorism on American soil — big caveat there, to be sure, since there’s been plenty in other countries — over the past six years.

So, getting back to Mike’s question, why are the responses so different?