tHe iNTeL GirL

an oasis of intelligence in a desert of fools

reluctantly seeing his point

Posted by theintelgirl on August 15, 2006

From Reason Online, Don’t Be Terrorized

Even if terrorists were able to pull off one attack per year on the scale of the 9/11 atrocity, that would mean your one-year risk would be one in 100,000 and your lifetime risk would be about one in 1300. (300,000,000 ÷ 3,000 = 100,000 ÷ 78 years = 1282) In other words, your risk of dying in a plausible terrorist attack is much lower than your risk of dying in a car accident, by walking across the street, by drowning, in a fire, by falling, or by being murdered.

So do these numbers comfort you? If not, that’s a problem. Already, security measures—pervasive ID checkpoints, metal detectors, and phalanxes of security guards—increasingly clot the pathways of our public lives. It’s easy to overreact when an atrocity takes place—to heed those who promise safety if only we will give the authorities the “tools” they want by surrendering to them some of our liberty. As President Franklin Roosevelt in his first inaugural speech said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself— nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” However, with risks this low there is no reason for us not to continue to live our lives as though terrorism doesn’t matter—because it doesn’t really matter. We ultimately vanquish terrorism when we refuse to be terrorized.

There must be a point when Americans must choose for themselves. Either a) We can be tremendously inconvenienced by new airline security measures and minimize the risk of a terrorist attack, or b) We can accept the risk of flying, knowing that there is a chance that terrorists may assemble explosives on board if liquids are once again allowed on board.

I’m not advocating one or another. Do I hate the fact that every time I fly now that I must check luggage? Definitely. Will I feel secure because I, along with any potential terrorist, had to do the same? More secure, yes. Completely secure, never.

Reiterating this post, I would like TSA and other government officials to move beyond the liquid issue and explore the new and next way a terrorist will plot to destroy aircraft.


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