I shall evaluate some of the wide-ranging psychological effects of 9/11 to further flesh out the concept that 9/11 is a "national trauma," in pursuit of a more sophisticated understanding intended to supplant the traditional concept of "trauma" so often associated with events of this caliber. Before 9/11, most people thought posttraumatic stress was something Vietnam veterans (or perhaps rape victims) suffered. As I describe in Part I, this is squarely at odds with recent research that shows such trauma is common. I will discuss current literature reflecting on post-traumatic stress and the associated disorder (post-traumatic stress disorder, or "PTSD"), and, in Part II, I will propose a mechanism to describe who might lead legal change and what change might take place. I shall also discuss a specific application of the model, namely energy policy and the concept of "energy independence" in the wake of 9/11. This model, because it is based on suppositions about human behavior, necessitates a reference in this Article to the growing controversy over the nascent field of "law and behavioral economics." In Part III, I evaluate the model in light of some of the major criticisms leveled at that scholarship, as well as other possible drawbacks. There I find that this effort to mesh law and behavior, like others, is commendable even though the generalizations inherent in doing so threaten to undermine such effort. This not only leaves many more questions than answers, but also indicates elements of a productive research agenda that may well occupy and utilize the talents of scientists, historians, legal scholars and others for years to come.
Joel B. Eisen, The Trajectory of "Normal" After 9/11: Trauma, Recovery and Post-Traumatic Societal Adaptation, 14Fordham Envtl. Law J. 499 (2003) (symposium issue).