I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Are we Safer Now? Does it Matter?

John Mueller writing on the Cato Institute blog says no but that it really doesn't matter. He suggests we would be better off just forgetting the "the war on terror" since we have a better chance of getting killed by a stray meteor than being killed by a terrorist.
1. Is the likelihood that an individual American will be killed by international terrorists higher or lower than before 9/11?

This is a tricky concept to deal with because the number of Americans killed within the United States by international terrorists in the five years since 9/11 is the same as the number killed in the five years before: zero. Although polls continue to show Americans notably concerned that they or members of their families might die at the hands of terrorists, astronomer Alan Harris has calculated that, at present rates and including the disaster of 9/11 in the consideration, the chances any individual resident of the globe will be killed by an international terrorist over the course of an 80-year lifetime is about 1 in 80,000, about the same likelihood of being killed over the same interval from the impact on the Earth of an especially ill-directed asteroid or comet. At present, Americans are vastly more likely to die from bee stings, lightning, or accident-causing deer than by terrorism within the country. That seems pretty safe.
Mr Mueller goes on to ask and answer several more terrorism related questions and concludes with this:
Thus the country can readily absorb considerable damage if necessary, and it has outlasted far more potent threats in the past. To suggest otherwise is to express contempt for America's capacity to deal with adversity.

However, although the alarmists may exaggerate, a proclivity that is by nature (and definition) central to their basic makeup, the subtext of their message should perhaps be taken seriously: ultimately, the enemy, in fact, is us. Thus far at least, terrorism is a rather rare and, appropriately considered, not generally a terribly destructive phenomenon. But there is a danger that hysteria over it could become at least somewhat self-fulfilling should extensive further terrorism be visited upon the Home of the Brave.

A key element in a policy toward terrorism, therefore, should be to control, to deal with, or at least productively to worry about the fear and overreaction that terrorism so routinely inspires and that generally constitutes its most damaging effect.
Read the entire thing

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