A new installment of “Lessons Learned” is now out. This week I discuss the sarin gas attack that Aum Shinrikyo carried out in the Tokyo subway system on March 20, 1995. In the video, I discuss how technological advances increasingly mean that governments are no longer the only ones capable of inflicting mass destruction. Here’s a question to consider: what steps should society take to protect itself as technology makes it easier for terrorists, messianic figures, or just embittered individuals to inflict great harm? I encourage you to weigh in with your answer in the comments section below.
I hope you enjoy the video.
If you are interested in learning more about Aum Shinrikyo, the 1995 sarin gas attack, or the use of chemical and biological weapons more generally, here are some books and reports worth reading:
Richard Danzig et al. Aum Shinrikyo: Insights into How Terrorists Develop Biological and Chemical Weapons. (2011)
Laurie Garrett. Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health. (2001)
Laurie Garrett. I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks. (2011)
Jeanne Gullemin. Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism. (2005)
Haruki Murakami. Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche. (2001)
Ian Reader. Religious Violence in Contemporary Japan: The Case of Aum Shinrikyo. (2000)
Geoffrey Zubay. Agents of Bioterrorism: Pathogens and their Weaponization. (2005)