John Tierney’s being a bit slow when he tries to understand why we all laughed at the Level Orange terror upgrade last month: “Those people who responded with contempt did so because of an ‘infantile yearning to be allowed to remain passive while the government takes care of us,’ said Peter Sandman, a risk communication consultant based in Princeton, N.J. We want Tom Ridge to make the problem go away instead of telling us to prepare, he explained, and it’s not because we’re afraid.”

Oh, sakes. John? Pookie? You’re allowed to discount stupid opinions in your articles. (It is, in fact, your job. The part of the brain that processes words is supposed run faster than the part that makes the clicky noises on the keyboard.) Now go find some people who don’t live inside your Rolodex or your head and they’ll fill you in. (Hint: Think cynicism. We all love duct tape, but we’re fairly sure it can’t “take care of us” in case of genuine disaster; problem is, we know the government cannot.)

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