Friday, December 02, 2005

Bomb General Motors!

Researchers have shown that 390 times more people die on the roads in developed countries as die from international terrorism. In the US, this translates into the equivalent of a 9/11 every month, and on a global scale, every nine days. And yet, the money and attention of law- and policy-makers is focused on the much smaller killer.

OTOH, looking at the policies US lawmakers have pursued against terrorism, maybe that's a good thing...


More people die in the home that on the roads, so maybe bombing step ladder and deep fat fryer makers would also be a scheme.

Posted by Rich : 12/02/2005 09:53:00 AM

What a peculiar and strange connection to make, between deliberate mass murder, and people dying in crashes on the road. This argument has as much validity as saying, when asked what the time is, that cars drive on the left side of the road.
Very peculiar you are.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/02/2005 01:01:00 PM

Both the "war on terror" and various government attempts to reduce the road toll (by speed limits, safety standards, and enforcement) are predicated on the idea that it is the government's duty to protect the lives of its citizens. What's peculiar is that the US government in particular is spending so much money protecting so few lives.

To "prevent another 9/11", the US government is spending well over a hundred billion dollars a year on tracking, detaining and torturing suspected terrorists, as well as on creating more through a fruitless war in Iraq. Road accidents cause the equivalent of "another 9/11" every nine days. Clearly, someone lacks a sense of proportion about what the real threat to American lives is.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/02/2005 01:12:00 PM

A hundred billion dollars a year could be put to better use in providing quality public transport and reducing people's use of cars, thereby saving many thousands of lives. The Iraq war is _killing_ many thousands, for no discernable benefit (to put it mildly).

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 12/02/2005 03:39:00 PM

I think the problem is the potential long term threat of terrorism.
I propose it is total, in as far as it could end human life one day (even though it is not that dangerous now) driving cars will never reachthat point.
Also it is to be feared in part because it is feared (as contadictory as that sounds). If someone droped a nuke in shanghai (or los angeles or whatever) - sure only 20 million might die, and sure that might be less than the amount of people who die of other causes in china that year, but your big problem is not that 20 million would die as a direct result of the blast - it is instead that China would go insane.

it is therefore in everyone's interests that the USA or china or anyone else is fairly careful about their vulnerability to terrorism.

Posted by Genius : 12/02/2005 10:39:00 PM

There is some logic to their counterpoints I/S...

What if your financial logic were used on say, homicide victims? I'm sure police resources must enter into the millions for the seriously big murder investigations, that's a whole lotta cash for just one dead person. Not to mention all the trial stuff.

What if we stopped investigating homicide and put that money into child health or indeed road safety? How many more lives could be saved if we just shrugged off getting murderers? But then there wouldn't be justice for those people, and justice isn't something you budget in, it's something you do because it is right to do it.

Of course, this does not justify the Iraq war, not at all... But it does point out that those who organised the WTC bombings should be brought to justice, just as any murderer should, even at great financial cost.

Posted by muerk : 12/03/2005 01:05:00 AM

genius: actually, I think driving cars is a much bigger long term threat than terrorism could possibly be (if you discount state terrorism). The damage cars do to the environment, and their contribution to demand for oil, is more likely to wipe out human civilization than any terrorist attacks. If terrorism is to be feared because it is feared, then surely the solution is to reduce the fear rather than to fan it?

muerk: providing child health and road safety are also something you do because it is right to do it. Or should we eliminate all health subsidies for children and put the money in to funding homocide detectives instead? It's impossible to do everything that's "right", so we do need to prioritise allocation of resources reasonably. The occupation of Iraq is not a reasonable allocation of resources. BTW, what makes you think that those primarily responsible for the WTC bombings didn't all die when they crashed the planes?

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 12/03/2005 12:03:00 PM

State and individual terrorism are practically identical from the recipiants point of view. Afterall at one stage osama and afganistan were intimatly intertwined and now they are not. But in time surely groups of individuals will be able to do what states can do now even if they cannot at this instant.

> The damage cars do to the environment

Well I was not taking that into consideration specifically - but if we determine that oil is that much of a danger of course you would need to take whatever actions nessercary to prevent oil being burnt anywhere on earth. these sort of actions would be quite different in their nature to those required to reduce road deaths.

> If terrorism is to be feared because it is feared, then surely the solution is to reduce the fear rather than to fan it?

There always multiple ways to solve a problem. you could convince the terrorists to stop bombing the americans in iraq or you could convince the americans to leave and the government of iraq to capitulate - either would partly solve the problem and we can make our choices on which we think is more practical or whatever.

The queston here is can you convince China to not care (or show fantastic restraint) if they get nuked? I dont think I can - but if you can I am VERY impressed. The easier goal might be to concentrate on just not letting them get nuked.

Posted by Genius : 12/03/2005 05:34:00 PM