Moose I doubt this forum produces poor men/women. We have all been given and we all eventually learn to give the advise of stay away from a product if you dont understand it. Shorting is not for novices and even after a few years of trading I still wont touch futures,SSF etc. I dont think the "get rich" mentality that many a newby comes to the forum with.
007 - from your question you seem to be a novice so take the best advise you will ever get here from ALL of us. STAY AWAY FROM TRADING PRODUCTS YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND! Rather be a woosy (keep you cash safer) and trade normal shares for a while to get to understand the markets. Buy cheep sell high and use the prfit to buy cheep again when the share drops. Learn everything you think you need to, ONLY then start a paper trade system for shorts, longs, calls, puts etc. If you can make paper profit (and be 100% honest with your self on your system with buy and selling).
Now you can either take the advise and loose alot less, or you can be a typical newby (like everyone here was at some stage myself included) and jump in and pay your school fees with big losses to your cash. Your choice!
I always get the impression on this forum that there is a stigma attached to shorting. If your view is downside then go short. You lose the same amount if your view is wrong regardless if it's long or short.
Just a word of caution, on entering a short at this level where there's a 300 - 500 point GAP, may hurt when the dow opens. Also, we sitting on a key retracement of the recent rally ... just a few things to think about.