Freakonomics scribe Steven D. Levitt shook up his new hostess, the Grey Lady, a bit today by doling out some unsolicited advice to terrorists. The post, on how he’d plan an attack on the U.S. were he a determined jihadist, suggests that would-be attackers follow in the footsteps of the Beltway snipers. Writes Levitt, “The basic idea is to arm 20 terrorists with rifles and cars, and arrange to have them begin shooting randomly at pre-set times all across the country…. The chaos would be unbelievable, especially considering how few resources it would require of the terrorists. It would also be extremely hard to catch these guys. The damage wouldn’t be as extreme as detonating a nuclear bomb in New York City, of course; but it sure would be a lot easier to obtain a handful of guns than a nuclear weapon.”
The post can be found at “The Steves’” new home, the Freakonomics blog on nytimes.com’s Opinion page. The book’s co-authors Stephen J. Dubner and Levitt have partnered with the paper to, presumably, conquer the Internet with as much gusto as they conquered the Times‘ best-seller list. The blog will continue to be edited by HuffPo alum Melissa Lafsky.
A Times spokesperson said of the recently inked arrangement: “The Freakonomics deal is part of a larger strategy to expand our content offerings through smart alliances and acquisition. This blog is a natural fit for nytimes.com because, like our audience, Freakonomics readers are highly curious and engaged in the topics of the day.”
Like, you know, how best to terrify millions of Americans.