Could Al-Qaida Cause a Blackout?

And will looters ravage a darkened Los Angeles?

Parts of Los Angeles are experiencing a major power outage. So far, officials are attributing the blackout to an accidentally cut cable, but in this post-9/11 era, Americans always ask: “Is it al-Qaida?” When much of the East Coast lost power in August of 2003, Fred Kaplan argued that a terrorist attack on the power grid would be practically impossible. Until the lights return, Los Angeles residents might also worry about looting, especially given what happened in New Orleans. But looting wasn’t a problem during the 2003 blackout, as David Greenberg explained. In New York City, the city’s overall good health helped prevent a blackout crime spree. “A virtuous cycle has taken hold, in which civic pride has led all manner of New Yorkers to care more about their city,” Greenberg wrote.