Tuesday, September 19, 2006



The real risk of terrorism

How dangerous is Al Qaeda really? President Bush would clearly like Americans to spend the rest of their lives quivering in fear, afraid to go to the letterbox (or, more importantly, the ballot box) lest a crazed terrorist leap out and slaughter them by setting his beard on fire. But as irritating people keep pointing out, the terrorist emperor has no clothes - there have been no foreign terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11, almost certainly because there aren't any terrorists there to conduct them. And yet, Americans are still afraid...

In an effort to educate people about the real risk of terrorism, Wired has produced a handy, colour-coded risk chart showing the number of people killed by various activities over the past eleven years. Terrorism ranks in the lowest category. According to Wired, "your appendix is more likely to kill you than al-Qaida is". In fact, Americans face a greater danger of being shot by their own police than they do from Al Qaeda. Maybe Bush should be carpet-bombing the LAPD...

6 comments:

There was some interesting comment on the Middle East on Chris Laidlaw's programme on Sunday...apart from merely being interesting the guy he was interviewing has a fantastic voice.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/smcl/middle_east

Posted by Michael : 9/19/2006 07:33:00 AM

Non-state-sponsored terrorist attacks were also decreasing globally year on year before Bush came to power. Since then they've increased exponentially year on year.

Posted by Anthony : 9/19/2006 09:46:00 AM

I think part of the issue is that your appendix isn't going to kill you maliciously.

Well, unless you have a very, very mean appendix.

Posted by muerk : 9/19/2006 05:53:00 PM

if your appendix does kill you then it isn't going to kill anyone else - so we can get on with our lives.
and the LAPD (unlike terrorists) is probably more likely to kill the guy trying to kill you than to kill you (even if at times the odds might seem a little closer than we might like).

Similarly most of us wouldn't wander around mangare back streets at night even if it might be less guaranteed to kill you than smoking.

Still - I do agree alquaeda isn't that dangerous (along with the whole islamic world really) - they are just "cruising for a bruising" as they say.

Posted by Genius : 9/19/2006 07:39:00 PM

if terrorism were a company on the stockmarket we'ed all be buying stock. Big nations exist and prosper by the size and ability of their enemies. Terrorism is just an enemy of America and as such keeps the people looking out to the world in fear. This stops them looking at themselves.
But terrorism, as a market force also has a bunch of redeeming qualities. After the cold war made that enemy redundant terrorism has been a boon to the military and information industries. It also allows America an excuse to push it's markets into the deserts where the oil is. It's political correctness gone completely wrong when the biggest bully on the block starts trying to tell us he's scared... and we believe him.

Posted by artyone : 9/20/2006 07:38:00 AM

Bush and cronies have made us all scared (not all)
the only thing i fear, is BUSH himslef

that would have been funny, if it wernt so sad.


also see...
fake terror

Posted by brad : 9/21/2006 06:12:00 PM