Reblogging Paul Kedrosky's excellent article on crisis and people acting.
"So, why didn't the worst happen? In part what happened is this: People acted. While they were late, slow, stupid, and error-prone, they did what people do when a big enough alarm bell is rung loudly and long enough: They tried to figure out what they could do in the time they had to reduce their risk, and they did those things. They didn't think other people would get there, but they knew they would."