Today, September 5, 2007, stands six days between the anniversaries of two historic national disasters. Six days and two years ago—on August 29, 2005—Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Six days ahead six years ago—on September 11, 2001—airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.
It's not a bad day to think a little about how people respond to disasters, and to marvel at the fact that people—on average—don't behave as poorly as one might expect.
Lots of research indicates that while people may think they'll respond with panic and confusion when disaster hits, they often actually end-up coping reasonably well. Despite this, many of us—including me—still can't escape the hold of what some researchers call "myths" about the public and human response to disaster.