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The Possible Effects of a Terrorist Attack on Chicago


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Final project for class HONR 204 at Loyola University Chicago, Fall 2010 with Professor George K. Thiruvathukal

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The Possible Effects of a Terrorist Attack on Chicago

  1. 1. Eric Williamson<br />Loyola university chicago<br />HONR 204 fall 2010<br />George k. thiruvathukal, prof.<br />The Effects of a Possible Terrorist Attack on Chicago and the Role of Crowds<br />
  2. 2. 24<br />
  3. 3. Terrorism Defined<br />The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.<br />The state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. (1)<br />Currently, there is no agreed upon legal definition of terrorism.<br />What is the difference between a liberation movement and a terrorist movement?<br />The issue of state terrorism and national militaries (2)<br />
  4. 4. September 11th, 2001<br />Brought the issue of terrorism home, to the forefront of our lives.<br />We learned new phrases like “weapons of mass destruction,” and “enhanced interrogation.” (3)<br />This language is used to “foster a culture of fear.”<br />New phrases “divorce language from meaning.”<br />Changed the way we live our lives. Made us more aware, or paranoid as some might call it.<br />Amanda’s Story<br />
  5. 5. Post 9/11<br />Like Amanda, we all have seen changes and become more aware of our surroundings.<br />CTA signs: “Stylish or Suspicious?”<br />Operation Iraqi Freedom, Hunting Sadam and Osama<br />TSA’s “upgrades.”<br />We are on high alert for future attacks.<br />
  6. 6. Terrorist Weapons – Chemical Agents<br /><br />List of Chemical Agents<br />
  7. 7. Terrorist Weapons – Biological Agents<br /><br />List of Biological Agents<br />
  8. 8. Terrorist Weapons – Dirty Bombs<br />A dirty bomb consists of conventional explosives combined with radioactive material and is intended to contaminate the area around it. (4)<br />FAS study determined that potential dirty bomb attacks constitute a serious threat, and radiological materials are accessible to “determined” terrorists. (5)<br />FAS ran three probable case studies.<br /><br />
  9. 9. Terrorist Weapons – Nuclear Bombs<br />The scariest possibility<br />As more and more countries develop nuclear programs, terrorists are more likely to obtain nuclear weapons (6).<br />The most likely scenario is that terrorist groups would take advantage of the lack of shipping security, and set off a nuclear bomb at an important shipping harbor, such as Long Beach, CA (7).<br /><br />Terrorists conceal a 10-kilton bomb in a shipping container (20,000 containers daily—security is difficult), and it subsequently explodes.<br />The immediate blast destroys everything in a 0.6 mile radius<br />Flash electromagnetic radiation kills everybody in a 0.7 mile radius.<br />The Radioactive fallout would contaminate an area of hundreds of square kilometers, making this area uninhabitable for years.<br />Radioactive water and sediment expose 150,000 people to radiation.<br />Approximately 60,000 people will die immediately from the blast and following flash radiation.<br />
  10. 10. Long Beach Attack Cont’d.<br />72 Hours After the Attack<br />Economic Implications<br />Political Implications<br />Economic Implications<br />Costs in excess of $1 trillion. US Federal Debt: almost $14 trillion<br />Trade: Strategic Gaming<br />Immediate call to all ports to receive all traffic from Long Beach, though there is a high likelyhood that they too will close (cancellation of air traffic immediately after 9/11) <br />The ports of California handle 30% of US shipping imports.<br />If they were closed, this would lead to severe consequences for domestic businesses and would lead to extremely decreased availability of basic goods.<br />Declines in world stock markets.<br />Bankruptcies, mortage defaults<br />
  11. 11. Possible Attack Scenarios on Chicago<br />Terrorists would target the areas with the highest crowd densities—namely malls, CTA, crowded streets like Michigan Ave.<br />Use biological/chemical weapons.<br />Dirty bombs<br />Worst case scenario: a 10 kiloton bomb like the one from the hypothetical Long Beach scenario is detonated in downtown Chicago. <br />Response scenarios<br />
  12. 12. First Scenario: A biological/chemical weapon is deployed on a CTA railcar<br />CTA Red Line at 7:30 Thursday morning<br />Belmont 45<br />42<br />Fullerton 38<br />28<br />North/Clybourne 12<br />37<br />Clark/Divison 53<br />35<br />Chicago 20<br />36<br />Grand 35<br />40<br />Lake 65<br />
  13. 13. First Attack Scenario Cont’d.<br />Terrorists would most likely use an aerosol dispersal device such as a pressurized glass container to spread anthrax or another biological/chemical agent. (8) (9) <br />Dangers with biological weapons: symptoms do not necessarily appear immediately.<br />Probable weapons: anthrax, sarin, VX (10)<br />
  14. 14. First Attack Scenario Cont’d.<br />Chemical Agent Sarin released via aerosol dispersal device.<br />Sarin is odorless, tasteless, and clear when vaporized<br /> Train travelling from Grand to Lake Thursday morning<br />40 people on the train, 65 waiting at Lake<br />Immediate symptoms of Sarin exposure (light) <br />Confusion, drowsiness, eye pain, blurred vision, cough, headache, abdominal pain<br />Immediate symptoms of Sarin exposure (heavy)<br />Loss of consciousness, paralysis, respiratory failure leading to death. <br />
  15. 15. First Attack Scenario Cont’d.<br />Serin gas stays on clothing for up to 30 minutes, increasing the spread of the weapon.<br />Sketchup Model/Netlogo<br />Conservative Estimates<br />20-30 died from heavy serin exposure<br />100+ showed symptoms from light serin exposure and are hospitalized<br />Other possible agents usable in this senario: VX, mustard gas, chlorine gas<br />Biological agents: anthrax, ricin<br />Response: Shut down CTA, evacuate Lake, set up biological decontamination tents and emergency hospital units<br />
  16. 16. Second Attack Scenario: An IED/pipebomb explodes on a CTA railcar<br />A pipe bomb consists of a tightly sealed steel pipe filled with explosives, most likely a mixture between nitrogenous fertilizer and a “low-explosive” such as black gunpowder. (12)<br />8090 psi explosion. Standard atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi<br />Conservative estimates<br />30-35 dead; others injured from shrapnel<br />All on train suffer hearing damage<br />CTA car destroyed, part of platform destroyed<br />Other possibilities: Dirty bomb<br />Response scenario: Shut down CTA, evacuate Lake. Transport injured to the hospital<br />
  17. 17. Third Attack Scenario: A Chemical Attack on Watertower Place <br />Average crowd density of about 5 people/sq. yard (Saturday afternoon)<br />At least 600 people on the first 3 floors<br />Vents<br />Using aerosol dispersal devices<br />Large quantities of Serin gas<br />Assume that about 50-100 people are able to get out with only symptoms of light serin exposure<br />
  18. 18. Third Attack Scenario Cont’d.<br />The rest experience symptoms of heavy serin exposure—loss of consciousness, paralysis, respiratory failure leading to death.<br />At least 200 dead; 300+ injured<br />Response scenario: Quarantine the building and those who evacuated immediately after the attack, set up emergency treatment tents and decontamination<br />Other possible scenario: dirty bomb, pipe bomb<br />
  19. 19. Fourth (and scariest) Attack Scenario: A Nuclear Bomb Explodes in Downtown Chicago<br />Highly unlikely<br />Terrorists must overcome “enormous technical and logistical obstacles” in order to assemble a nuclear bomb in a city. (13) <br />Though, terrorists theoretically could “steal, produce, or procure a ‘crude’ bomb or device.” <br />Assume the same bomb from Long Beach example; set off in the early afternoon<br />10 kiloton<br />.6 mile blast radius<br />.7 flash burst radius (lethal doses of radiation)<br />Fallout: 100’s of square kilometers<br />
  20. 20. Fourth Attack Scenario Cont’d.<br />Effects<br />Blast radius covers the entire loop plus some—at least 100,000 dead (loop population 2000: about 17,000) (14)<br />Massive infrastructure damage<br />Flash radiation radius: about 15,000 more fatalities<br />Thousands temporarily blinded, leading to car accidents<br />Fallout after 24 hours: about 10 miles in a given direction, depending on wind patterns.<br />Thousands more will get radiation sickness, depending on whether or not effective evacuations are implemented. Neighboring cities must be prepared to receive massive amounts of refugees.<br />Economic <br />Costs will be in the trillions<br />Homes lost<br />Life insurance benefits<br />Worker’s compensation claims<br />Infrastructure damage<br />Commercial square footage lost <br />Stock Market collapse<br />Political<br />Relations with other countries<br />Another war?<br />
  21. 21. Conclusion<br />Be aware, but not paranoid<br />
  22. 22. Works Cited - MLA<br />(1) "terrorism." Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 19 Nov. 2010. <>.<br />(2) Deen, Thalif. "U.N. Member States Struggle to Define Terroism." IPS News 20 Nov. 2010. 25 July 2005 <>.<br />(3) Lehrer, Espada et. al., . "Seven Years Later, Impact of 9/11 Still Resonates." PBS Newshour. 28 Nov. 2010. PBS. 11 Sep. 2008 <>.<br />(4) "Dirty Bomb." Wikipedia. 28 Nov. 2010. Wikipedia. 23 Nov. 2010 <>.<br />(5) "Dirty Bombs: Response to a Threat." FAS Public Interest Report. 28 Nov. 2010. The Journal of the Federation of American Scientists. March/April 2002 <>.<br />(6) Levi, Rubenstein, . "How Likely is a Nuclear Terrorist Attack on the United States?." Council on Foreign Relations. 29 Nov. 2010. Council on Foreign Relations. 20 Apr. 2007 <>.<br />(7) Meade, Molander, . "Considering the Effects of a Catastrophic Terrorist Attack." Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy. 29 Nov. 2010. RAND. 2006 <>.<br />(8) "Biological Warfare Agent Delivery." 29 Nov. 2010. 23 Oct. 2007 <>.<br />(9) "Biological Weapons." 29 Nov. 2010. 23 Oct. 2007 <>.<br />(10) "Chemical Agents." Emergency Preparedness and Response. 30 Nov. 2010. Center for Disease Control. <>.<br />(11) "Facts About Sarin." Emergency Preparedness and Response. 30 Nov. 2010. Center for Disease Control. <>.<br />(12) "Pipe Bomb." Wikipedia. 30 Nov. 2010. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 15 Nov. 2010 <>.<br />(13) John, Mueller. "The Atomic Terrorist: Assessing the Likelihood." Department of Political Science. 30 Nov. 2010. Ohio State University. 1 Jan. 2008 <>.<br />(14) “Loop, Chicago." Wikipedia. 30 Nov. 2010. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 25 Nov. 2010 < >.<br />