It is possibly the most acutely toxic substance known, with a median lethal dose of about 1 ng/kg, meaning that a few hundred grams could theoretically kill every human on earth (for perspective, the rat poison strychnine, often described as highly toxic, has an LD50 of 1,000,000 ng/kg, and it would take four hundred tons to kill every human).
It is also remarkably easy to come by: Clostridium spores are found in soil practically all over the earth.
I think Levitt fails to understand the motivation behind the al Qaeda attacks. They are not designed to scare us, but to glorify al Qaeda in the Islamic world, to show that Islam is not impotent in its battles. They are show and the audience is Islamic. The attacks give legitimacy to the organization and over reaction in retaliation helps their recruiting. The bigger the attack the bigger the effect. A bunch of pot shots in the heartland may scare the people here but won't play big in the Islamic world.
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