Nautilus

This Is Why Americans Are Irrationally Anxious About Terrorism

On September 11, 2001 I was living and teaching in Providence, Rhode Island, a town that is on the short flight path between Boston, where terrorists boarded two passenger airliners, and New York, where these planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. In the following days, the whole campus seemed convulsed with grief; professors broke down weeping at their podiums and students huddled together, consoling one another. I remember these days as some of the most intensely emotional ones of my life.

Almost a decade and a half has passed since then, and the rawness of that emotion has subsided. Most students now entering college or university have no conscious recollection of

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