Put a frog in boiling water. It’s going to jump out. Put a frog in cold water and turn the heat on–it’ll stay in the pot and meet it’s slow end.
People are much the same. When thrown into an immediate crisis, whether it be a terrorist attack, a tsunami, or a financial collapse, people will react and react in a big way. However, when people slowly start to see signs of a crisis on the horizon they do little to stop it.
After initial relief efforts and a drive to get everything ‘business as usual’ people will work on tweaking their senses and adjusting their old habits so they can avoid, or at the very least, predict the arrival of similar disasters. They don’t want to be caught in a simmering pot again.
Take terrorism. On September 11th, 2001 the world stopped. Immediately America was put on high alert while money, muscle, and aid flowed into New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. Afterwords, America became vigilant and mandated new security rules in all airports, busy road-ways, and public transpiration hubs.
Americans, in general, became weary of mass transit, flying, and looked at long security check points as necessary.