Volatility has spiked up again these days for fear of a double-dip recession. This time, not only short term volatility (VXX) has gone up, but longer term volatility (VXZ) has spiked up as well. VXX has spiked up back to the level around the flash crash, but VXZ has spiked up not far from the level around Mar 2009, when the market seemed most dire. While the market may very well tank, and volatility further spike up, volatility is really all about the fear of the speed of decline. Nonetheless, the key to shorting volatility is the ability to ride out the volatility, thus taking a highly leveraged position on the short will be extremely risky, but the risk is only moderate if you can withstand a long timeline on the short.