Terrorism is the worst threat we ever had to face - right?
With this post I would like to share some thoughts about a very scary topic: terrorism. First, please have a short look at the following pictures:
Source: www.rediff.com (Censoring done by @hagbardceline)
Scary stuff, right? You aren't scared? You should be! Seems like terrorists are everywhere. Probably we will all die one day because of a terrorist attack. Foreign terror fighters are the worst threat we ever had to face. They are very close to wipe out our entire civilisation. Everything we believe in, everything we built with our own blood, sweat and tears. We have to act now! We have to install every surveillance system we can get our hands on immediately. We have to install video cameras everywhere. We have to hack into those terrorist's systems. I heard they sometimes use stuff like WhatsApp to plan their attacks. Our government should try to do everything it can to control every system out there. We have to close our borders...
But wait; hold on a minute. Didn't I want to let numbers do the talking? Ok, here you go:
Wait; what? It's much more likely to die from eating too fast than from a terror attack (at least in the US)? For sure, the situation must be far worse in Europe. Let's see... "Terror is killing far fewer people in the UK now than it was in the 1980s". Hum... strange... but certainly the BBC will have some things to say about the real danger of terrorism.
They write: "Professor Steven Pinker from Harvard University, who studies patterns of violence, says people are disproportionately scared of terrorism. "For all the fear that terrorism generates, you're almost certainly going to die of something else," he explains. "It's small potatoes compared to all the other ways that people kill each other - wars, homicides and murders, car accidents, or just about any type of accident. "But it's designed to generate a lot of publicity. We can't turn our heads away from gory carnage and the terrorists know that. "So you get a lot of publicity generated by attacks that are horribly tragic, but kill a fraction of the number of people who die from drowning, falls, or ordinary bar room murders.""
What? Car accidents are more dangerous than terrorism? This can't be true. Let me find some numbers to prove this so-called "professor" wrong. Aha, I found a nice paper called Deaths from international terrorism compared with road crash deaths in OECD countries. Let's check out their numbers:
Oh... that was unexpected... Apparently, the numbers tell us that terrorism isn't such a big threat after all. What do you say? Can that be true? Is it possible that the media is lying to us? Could it even be the case that some politicians make dishonest claims? Or are the statistics flawed? Maybe those "scientists" just messed with the numbers to brainwash us. I mean, come on, after all we have heard about Bin Laden and his friends; don't we at least have a right to be a little bit scared from time to time?
If you want to feel scared of terrorism, please feel free to do so. I mean; who am I to tell you what to be scared of and what not?