Saturday, September 26, 2009

I will post some facts every so often that strike me as interesting, primarily because they either (a) seem contrary to what we might be "thinking" or (b) because they illuminate our situation or condition. Here are some facts on terrorism and how it stacks up against other dangers, like accidentally suffocating in bed or drowning in swimming pools.

“According to the RAND-MIPT terrorism database – the most comprehensive available – there were 10,119 international terrorist incidents worldwide between 1968 and April 2007. These attacks took the lives of 14, 790 people, an average annual worldwide death toll of 379. Clearly, what the world saw that September morning was completely out of line with everything that went before or since. But still, 379 deaths worldwide annually is a very small number. In 2003, in the United States alone, 497 people accidentally suffocated in bed; 396 were unintentionally electrocuted; 515 drowned in swimming pools; 347 were killed by police officers. And 16,503 Americans were murdered by garden-variety criminals.
“And the 379 figure actually overstates the toll inflicted on Americans, Britons, and other residents of the Western world because most deaths caused by international terrorism happen in distant, tumultuous regions like Kashmir. In North America, between 1968 and 2007, all international terrorist incidents combined – including 9/11 – killed 3.765 people. That is only slightly more than the number of Americans killed while riding a motorcycle in the single year of 2003. In Western Europe, the death toll due to international terrorism between 1968 and April 2007 was 1.233. That is 6 percent of the number of lives believed lost every year in Europe to the naturally occurring radon gas that few people pay the slightest attention to.” [Source: The Science of Fear, p.250]

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