How Scared of Terrorism Should You Be?

Not very. You are four times more likely to be killed by a lightning bolt than by a terror attack.

How many Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks inside the United States since the September 11, 2001, atrocities? Arguably 16. Egyptian Hesham Mohamed Hadayet killed two Israelis at the El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport on July 4, 2002. On June 1, 2009, Abdulhakim Muhammed killed one soldier at a recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers during a shooting rampage in at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009.

Checking the Global Terrorism Database, one finds that an additional 14 Americans were killed in broadly defined domestic terrorism incidents since September 2001. Five died from anthrax attacks (2001); two died in an attack on a Knoxville church (2008); two are suspected to have been killed by members of the Minutemen American Defense group in Arizona (2009); an abortion provider was killed in Wichita, Kansas (2009); a guard was stabbed to death at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., (2009); two died in Austin when a man crashed his light plane into a government building over a dispute with the IRS (2009); and a neo-Malthusian terrorist was shot by police during a hostage incident at the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland (2009). That adds up to a grand total of 30 Americans killed in terrorist incidents inside the United States in the last 10 years.

In addition, the National Counterterrorism Center has been compiling worldwide deaths of private U.S. citizens due to terrorism since 2005. Terrorism is defined as “premeditated, politically motivated violence, perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”

In 2010 (the latest report), 15 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks; nine died in 2009; 33 in 2008; 17 in 2007; 28 in 2006; and 56 in 2005. The vast majority of private U.S. citizens killed in terrorist attacks died in the war zone countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. So the sad tally of Americans killed by terrorists around the world since 2005 comes to a total of 158, yielding an annual rate 16 Americans killed by terrorists outside of the borders of the United States.

Taking these figures into account, a rough calculation suggests that in the last five years, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million. This compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just published, Background Report: 9/11, Ten Years Later [PDF]. The report notes, excluding the 9/11 atrocities, that fewer than 500 people died in the U.S. from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2010. The report adds, “From 1991-2000, the United States averaged 41.3 terrorist attacks per year. After 2001, the average number of U.S. attacks decreased to 16 per year from 2002-2010.”

Of course, the police and politicians will cite the lack of deaths from terrorism as evidence that their protective measures are working. Earlier this year, the conservative Heritage Foundation compiled a list of 39 terror plots that had been foiled since September 2001. Going through the list, about 23 of the plots might plausibly have resulted in terror attacks of one sort or another. Several were aimed at subways, military bases, and shopping malls. To get a feel for the number of people that might be killed in typical terrorist attacks, consider that four subway bombs killed 52 people in London in 2005; the deadliest attack on a military base killed 13; and blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killed 187 people in 1995.

Making the huge assumption that all 23 plausible plots would have succeeded in killing an average of 100 Americans each, that means that 2,300 would have died in the last 10 years, or about 230 per year. (This implies a rate that is 10 times higher than the rate between 1970 and 2010, excluding the 9/11 attacks, by the way.) Even at this higher rate, your chances of dying in a terrorist attack would be about 1 in 1.7 million.

Ohio State University political scientist John Mueller and Mark Stewart, an engineering professor at University of Newcastle in Australia recently estimated that the U.S. has spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security measures since 2001 (this figure does not include the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). Assuming that 2,300 Americans might have been killed by terrorists inside the United States, this implies a cost of more that $400 million dollars per life saved. Typically when evaluating the costs of protective regulations, federal government agencies set the value of a life at about $9 million.

However, terrorism is especially frightening (that’s why they call it “terrorism”), so the average citizen might want to spend double the usual amount to prevent a death. But still suggests that on a reasonable benefit-cost basis public and private spending is 20 times too much to prevent deaths from terrorist attacks. Now let’s retrospectively add the tragic 3,000 deaths from the 9/11 attacks to take into account the remote possibility that terrorists might be able to pull off another similarly spectacular assault; that still means that nearly $200 million is being spent per plausible life saved.

A good bit of the trillion dollars has supported measures that threaten our liberties by beefing up the national security state. Since 2001, we all get to enjoy airport security theater; we must carry proper “papers” in order to gain admission to federal buildings; and federal minions have felt free to wiretap without warrants.

On this 10th anniversary, we will certainly remember those who died so tragically. But we should also recognize that terrorism is a hollow threat to which we should not surrender one iota of our liberties.

Ronald Bailey is Reason magazine's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

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  • tarran||

    I spent my childhood in Turkey, during a period of heightened rates of political violence.

    One of the things that was nice about the U.S. was the freedom; In afascist country like Turkey it's all limited, and people are constantly fighting (both figuratively and literaly) to gain control of the government; in a free country a person who wishes to do something does not have to have government support, and there is less incentive to political violence.

    In throwing away freedoms, the Democtratic and Republican parties have thrown away something precious, and made the citizenry less safe.

    Which is a shame. It used to be when I said, "go ahead, it's a free country," people didn't start and look furtively around to see who heard.

  • unhyphenatedconservative||

    Has this really happened to you in the U.S.? When? And what were you talking about?

  • ||

    I haven't heard that expression in years.

  • ||

    Because it hasn't been true for years.

  • ||

    I wonder if it was a conscious or sub-conscious decision by people to drop it from the popular lexicon?

  • mikey||

    When I was a lad and an adult told us we couldn't do something or other we'd say "why not? - it's a free country?" We believed it too.

  • rsi||

    OT:
    Tarran, I spent a couple of year of my childhood in Turkey. 1958-60, Ankara. My dad was with a pipeline company.

  • Copernicus||

    And then nothing happened.

  • Robert||

    people are constantly fighting (both figuratively and literaly) to gain control of the government


    This is a difficult cycle to break out of. When one faction gains power, it feels compelled to do unto the other faction before the other faction can do unto it.

    I've read the theory that the parts of the world that have been able to break out of this cycle by themselves have done so as a result of what would otherwise have been a temporary circumstance of 3 or more factions having approximately equal power, in which people realized they had a poor chance of dominating the others and so settled down to a seemingly temporary truce that eventually became a tradition.

  • Neu Mejican||

    How many Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks inside the United States since the September 11, 2001, atrocities? Arguably 16.

    Or, 26.
    Beltway snipers, 10 people.

  • ||

    If we count every murder intended to make other people afraid of being killed, that number is going to balloon to a meaningless degree.

  • ||

    I recall a Muslim student in Fla. that drove his SUV through a crowd.

  • ||

    A lot of people recall things that never happened.

  • Westros||

    And many low grade morons think their personal knowledge is all that there is, or can't spend 2 seconds googling something and maybe stuffing a new fact into their thick, tiny skulls. See link below and at least try to feel a molecule of embarrassment.

  • R||

    Never heard of that incident. Source?

  • Westros||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.....SUV_attack

    If you really cared you could have googled it in five seconds. Asking for cites on informal message boards is the dumbest thing in the world. YOU ARE CONNECTED TO THE BIGGEST INFORMATION NETWORK EVER CREATED! YOU CAN GET THE ANSWER YOURSELF!

  • ||

    So if I'm four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by terrorism, that would be the equivalent of having zero chance of death by terrorism but a 25% increased chance of being struck by lightning in a given year. Imagine if in this year lighting deaths rose by 25%. Rather than reporting this as a fairly insignificant fluctuation, the tradition moron box TV media would report this as a rising epidemic of "story at nine" proportions.

    Similarly, in a global warming context, this minor threat is something to destroy an economy over, yet in a terrorism context we all need to calm down and be reasonable about things. Not that's it's a bad idea to be reasonable, or a good idea to destroy an economy over terrorism but not GW, just sayin...nothing I guess...

  • Dave||

    Your nothing said is duly noted.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Is is just a Minor Threat!

  • MJ||

    "This compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist."

    Of course, all those other things are a result of personal carelessness or purely random chance. There is no malice or political agenda behind them. It is perfectly acceptable for a state to try to protect its people from politically motivated violence, which is what war is.

    Bailey may be right that the USA spends too much on counterterrorism compared to the threat level, but comparing the threat to accidents and natural disasters is a silly metric to base such a criticism on.

  • ||

    maybe i'm just a worry wart, even if half of the plausible 23 were successful wouldn't we be living in a police state?

  • ||

    Indeed. I think it's entirely rational to fear intentional violence more so than unintentional.

    Let's say there are two small towns, identical in every way, but Town A has one fatal traffic accident every year, while Town B has none, but does have a serial killer who kills one person a year. The death rate is the same, but it seems quite reasonable to me to prefer Town A.

  • ||

    hear, hear. i much prefer the banana peel than a sweaty nut with a bomb.

  • sevo||

    How about if Town A has 1,000 annual traffic fatalities?

  • ||

    thought we already solved that with red light cameras?

  • ||

    At 1,000:1 I'd pick B, sure. But the trouble with terrorism is that it doesn't seem to kill a lot of people until it does. There was an article in (IIRC) Salon circa 1999 about the overblown threat of terrorism, and it looked pretty stupid after 9/11. Bailey is a smart and sensible guy, but it only takes one big terror attack to change all the numbers.

  • Maxxx||

    No it doesn't.

    Add in 911 and the yearly average death toll goes to 390 +/-; which is nothing in a country of 310 million.

    The American population has become a bunch of safety fetishizing pussies.

  • sevo||

    "Add in 911 and the yearly average death toll goes to 390 +/-; which is nothing in a country of 310 million."

    And 2/5 the number of 'man-deaths' caused by standing in airport TSA lines; 1K/year.

  • Robert||

    Joel Kaplan years ago pointed out the fallacy of that latter type of analysis; at that time the example was equivalents of lives lost by speed limits. It's applicable only if you consider the time spent in those situations as as good as being dead.

    If you considered your life in terms of opp'ty costs, you'd probably have to lower the value of waiting time, because most of us use up the useful things we can do in less than the time we have, and therefore can simply rest during waiting time with close to 0 opp'ty cost.

    "In the time I spent waiting in line, I could've gone to Disneyland."

    "But you did eventually go to Disneyland. If you'd gone before that, would you have wanted to go again?"

    "No."

    "So you lost nothing."

  • Robert||

    In other words, time is usually not the limiting factor in our enjoyment of our lives.

    What if you found out you would have perpetual non-corporeal afterlife, but that during that non-corporeal experience you could not use any material resources? What good would all that time do you then?

  • ||

    a man is as happy as he makes up his mind to be. Abraham Lincoln
    forget terrorism, AGW freaks are gonna getcha. Ronald Bailey

  • some guy||

    Personally I don't have enough time to pursue all of my interests. And I hardly think anyone would consider their time in the TSA line as "rest" time.

  • Ted S.||

    Which waiting time is that? I'd rather rest 30 minutes at my destination than have to spend 30 extra minutes getting there due to artificially low speed limits.

  • sevo||

    "It's applicable only if you consider the time spent in those situations as as good as being dead."

    So, it is inapplicable. Thank you.

  • In Time of War||

    Considering the way most people drive, I don't see your point.

  • Apatheist||

    When your dead, it won't matter to you how you died. It IS unreasonable to prefer one over the other. I'm not saying that I don't find a serial killer scarier than a traffic accident but I know it is not the rational part of my brain making me think that way.

  • Robert||

    How do you know you won't hold a grudge after death, or brood over choices that led you to die the way you did?

  • ||

    If you move to town B and eliminate the killer then town B will be better the Town A and thats why we fight terrorism.

  • sevo||

    "Bailey may be right that the USA spends too much on counterterrorism compared to the threat level, but comparing the threat to accidents and natural disasters is a silly metric to base such a criticism on."

    Disagreed.
    The government could (and does) spend quite a bit on 'saving' us from both those alternatives, and poorly as well.
    I see them as a valid analogies.

  • MJ||

    It is a legitimate function of government to try and protect its people from enemies, foreign and domestic. Therefore, some expenditure to counterterrorism is a proper function of government. It also easier to protect against malice than it is carelessness, and random chance. The former requires planning and action by particular people, the latter just happens.

  • The Heresiarch||

    I'm not so sure it is easier to protect against malice than carelessness or random chance. Of course, it depends upon what one considers carelessness or random chance, but if we look at some categories of accidents (say industrial accidents and automobile accidents) planning and careful foresight have dramatically reduced deaths. For many years, diseases were considered to be acts of God, but now (via planning and foresight) we have dramatically reduced deaths due to many illnesses. Asking an epistemological question, how would we empirically prove that it is easier to protect against malice than carelessness or random chance?

  • Fluffy||

    Well, sure, some expenditure is warranted.

    But, like I said below, let's compare terrorism to a more prosaic crime, like rape.

    Vastly more Americans will be raped this year than will be the victim of terror attacks.

    But if I said, "I want a new federal agency with as many employees as the TSA created, and I want those hundreds of thousands of new employees to go out and search every male entering a college campus anywhere in the US, to make sure they aren't carrying date-rape drugs," people would (rightly) tell me I was insane, both because of the expense of my proposal and the civil liberties implications.

    But that means that our terror security policies have to be that much more insane, since the statistical risk of any American being a victim of a terror crime is so much dramatically less.

  • The Heresiarch||

    Agreed.

  • ||

    I never looked at it that way, but it makes perfect sense. Of course, the msm doesn't show gang-rapes on tv every night in the run up to the 10th anniversary of some notorious rape.

  • BigT||

    The statistics are skewed because those prevention techniques are already in place.

    What if we had done nothing in response to 9/11? How many American might have died? We can't know. But without that knowledge you can't really know how effective the prevention measures have been. Did they prevent 10 deaths, 10,000 or 10 million? We just don't know.

  • The Heresiarch||

    But if we don't know either way, why should that militate towards spending vast sums of money and infringing upon liberty? I would place the burden of proof upon those wishing the measures.

  • ||

    i'm not sure, but someone point to one of my liberties that is being infringed...
    (i don't fly)

  • ||

    I don't own a gun but that doesn't mean that Chicago's bullshit gun laws aren't infringing on my liberties (should I ever desire to visit Chicago).

  • steve||

    How many terrorists did we create by going on the offensive to the degree we did or with debacles like abu ghraib?

  • Merdre||

    6?

  • ||

    9?

  • MJ||

    Yawn. Tired argument is tiring.

  • ||

    this is an argument? i thought it was abuse?!

  • asdf||

    You have converted me, let's get on the homeland of rape security department asap.

  • sevo||

    "It is a legitimate function of government to try and protect its people from enemies, foreign and domestic. Therefore, some expenditure to counterterrorism is a proper function of government."

    OK, but shouldn't the expenditure and the loss of liberty reflect some proportion to the risk?
    There were ~800M US airline passengers in 2008. Let's say they were each delayed (conservatively) one hour. Given a generous 80 year life span, that means that 1,000 lives were lost standing in those damn lines. Per year! Some 10,000 lives were wasted trying to save, what, 30?
    Let's say each one lost $1 in goods they weren't allowed to carry on; add $800m in treasure to the lives.
    And this is only *airline* data. Sorry, our 'response' is nothing other than mission creep on the part of the government.

  • Westros||

    Wow. Watching statistics and bad analogies combine and blow up in a persons face is a sight to behold.

  • sevo||

    "Wow. Watching statistics and bad analogies combine and blow up in a persons face is a sight to behold."
    Wow. Reading stupid statements from ignoramuses is a sight to behold.

  • ||

    It also easier to protect against malice than it is carelessness, and random chance.

    Not necessarily, particularly when you're trying to protect against a malicious needle in a benign haystack. There's no reason to believe that the preventability of a death has anything to do with its being intended by a human.

  • The Heresiarch||

    I guess the question is why should a government (or an individual) spend so much more time on a given threat just because there is human agency involved? The odds of dying from x don't change simply because it was "an accident" or "intentional." I suppose someone could say that those threats with human agency could develop into even greater threats, but the same could be said of threats that don't involve human agency (disease, for instance). I think this gets down to the heart of why people overreact to terrorism. Because they know that some person was involved, it invokes a fear and bloodlust which is out of proportion to the objective danger those feared people pose.

  • Fluffy||

    I think the much, much more relevant metric is to compare it to your odds of being a victim of a plain old vanilla violent crime, like a mugging or a sexual assault.

    Any civil liberties violation or expansion of federal bureaucracy that would be intolerable to, say, combat college sexual assault, should be regarded as even more intolerable when directed at a Potemkin threat like terrorism.

  • Realist||

    "Bailey may be right that the USA spends too much on counterterrorism compared to the threat level, but comparing the threat to accidents and natural disasters is a silly metric to base such a criticism on."
    No it's not dead is dead!

  • Xenocles||

    "[C]omparing the threat to accidents and natural disasters is a silly metric to base such a criticism on."

    I think it's entirely appropriate. Arguably this intentionally directed violence we're supposed to be terrified of is in reality less effective than random disasters.

  • ||

    I am in fear of being killed by a cop every time one of them makes more than two consecutive turns directly behind me.
    Now, a muslim making more than two turns directly behind me? Not so much.

    Actually, that would be a good poll question: What makes you more nervous?
    A) Cop following you more than a few blocks
    B) Muslim following you more than a few blocks
    C) Your ex-wife following more than a few blocks

  • Dave||

    None of those make me particularly nervous. Then again, I don't have an ex-wife.

    Are you just paranoid, maybe?

  • ||

    Maybe you're not paranoid enough? Remember, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  • ||

    HEY YA HEY YA HEY YA RECTAL DO RAIN DANCE HOPE SKY CHIEF MAKE HER NOT RETARDED BUT TRAVELING BUFFALO THINK SHE ONE OF THEM AND TRAMPLE HER WIGWAM RECTAL HEAP ANGRY TRY TO SET UP WIGWAM ON H&R

  • FIBERTARIAN CAPS WIN WIN||

    I'm beating you on your own stated principles. Not that you have any integrity to uphold them. Please make a note of it.

  • ||

    HEY YA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HEY YA

  • ||

    With great power comes great responsibility

    -Thomas Jefferson

  • FIBERTARIAN CAPS WIN WIN||

    That's why I don't use ALL CAPS like e-piss-menarche.

  • Chatroom Crackpot||

    I thought it was Ben Parker who said that?

  • Fluffy||

    On the whole I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

    - Thomas Jefferson

  • PantsFan||

    "The problem with internet quotes, is that many are fake" - Abraham Lincoln

  • ||

    Come on you apes! You wanna live forever?

    -Oliver Hazard Perry

  • Fluffy||

    Sometimes you just gotta say, 'What the fuck?'"

    - Marie Antoinette

  • ||

    You wanna fuck with me? Okay. You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend!

    -Terri Schiavo

  • ||

    Just because I'm paranoid don't mean they're not after me.

  • ||

    i've already posted the stats.

    the VAST majority of people killed by cops are convicted felons and clearly engaged criminal behavior.

    even then, cops kill a tiny percentage of those they arrest/encounter.

    your chance, as a mere reasonably law abiding driver of being killed by a cop is so infinitessimally small as to be the functional equivalent of zero

    the fact that you are in fear of it evidences your (not surprising) emotionally based anti-cop bigotry. iow, a bigotry/fear that is wholly detached from reality.

    iirc it was heather mcdonald who showed (y'know with actual stats) that the average gangbanger was several times more likely to be killed by a fellow gangbanger than a cop

    even if you were a violent felon like a bank robber, etc. *if* you comply with police demands, you have a very very tiny chance of being killed. cops makes thousands of arrests for every person they kill, to include some very violent fucksticks

    nice to know you can admit your irrational fears.

  • Fluffy||

    But what if in an encounter with police I decide I have no intention of complying with illegal police demands?

    What would the "proper" un-bigoted level of fear to have be then?

  • ||

    again, the stats don't lie. what %age of traffic stops do you think result in death by cop?

    then, out of those "death by cop" check out how many were convicted felons. convicted felons make up a relatively small %age of the population, but a substantial majority of killed-by-cop. why? because theyare way more likely to try to use deadly force against cops, etc.

    the point is that yes, on staggeringly rare occasions, the cops kill somebody where they are not justified in doing so.

    however, even if you are just a random person (vs. a law abiding one, where your chances are far far far far far smaller), your chances of being killed by a cop on a traffic stop are just staggeringly small.

    these are stats.

    the same anti-cop bigots who CORRECTLY infer that the risk from terrorism for the average joe in the USA is tiny, can't use the same statistical logic to conclude that the risk of being killed by a cop is also staggeringly small

    yes, FAR more people are killed by cops than are killed by terrorism. but when you look at what %age of traffic stops result in deaths *and* that almost all of them are clearly justified, etc. the fear is... IRRATIONAL.

    you are many many orders of magnitude more likely to die from a collision (especially if you take your eyes off the road to scan for "the man") than from a cop

    it's not even a remotely logical fear

  • ||

    oh. btw... the VAST majority of those who refuse to comply with police demands do not die in a police encounter.

    but you are absolutely correct that if you refuse to comply with commands, you are MORE likely to be killed. absolutely.

    if you ignore speed limits and stop signs, the same applies.

  • Fluffy||

    I specified illegal orders.

    How do the numbers change if we add tasings, beatings, dog-shootings, asset forfeiture theft, and false arrest to the mix?

    BTW I would consider the false arrest number to include all arrests where the original charges were specious and were later dropped.

    To be fair, I'll allow you to add all the terrorist beatings, tasings, dog-shootings, thefts, and kidnappings to that side of the ledger.

  • ||

    i was responding to sloopyinca's claim

    about a fear of "being killed by the cops"

    the stats show his fear to be absurd.

    so don't move the goalposts.

    the point is his fear is purely emotion-based, not fact based, and at least as ridiculous as the very fears (of terrorism) outlined in this article

    that's the irony. he is using a similar ILLOGIC.

    hth

  • BigT||

    fluffy - how would you respond to another armed citizen's illegal demands to you on the street?

    I am prudent about such things and would not want to get hurt, so unless I could get away I would comply. Same with cops. My guess is that the cops would treat you better (even if not perfect).

  • sevo||

    "fluffy - how would you respond to another armed citizen's illegal demands to you on the street?"

    Not sure I'm happy with this; the cops are supposedly 'public servants'. WIH are they doing making illegal demands.
    Sorry, I expect more of them than random thugs.

  • ||

    the point i have made ad nauseum is that you often don't know a demand is illegal even if you think you do

    i was proned out at gunpoint for doing NOTHIGN wrong when i was much younger

    turns out i was a robbery suspect (same vehicle and person description) but i wasn't the actual person who did it

    i DAMN well complied. and if i had refused to comply and did something moronic like reach for my waistband and gotten shot, it probably would have been justified.

    you can expect whatever you want, but given an alleged "illegal demand" COMPLY and then you have an opportunity for redress later.

    it's too fucking bad, but that's how it works

    otoh, if cops shot or beat everybody who refused to comply with demands, legal or illegal, we would be shooting/beating WAY more people. the reality is cops are very reserved in use of force, but if you are given a demand - comply

    and bitch and moan LATER

  • Merdre||

    fuck off, slaver

  • PantsFan||

    i DAMN well complied

    what a compliant little citizen you are

  • ||

    i lol'd

  • sevo||

    "it's too fucking bad, but that's how it works"
    Sorry, bozo, but you just gave it away:
    "Tough; they got the guns, they can do what they please".
    Fail.

  • Trail of Tears||

    "Tough; they got the guns, they can do what they please" ~sevo, regarding the genocide of 90 million Indians

    Weird how Fibertarians never have any principles. They just nip and nip, and then want their ALPO.

  • ||

    no, when an officer gives you an order (e.g. put your hands up) no rational society would invest each person with the power to decide if that order was legal or not and then comply. it would be unworkable.

    NO society on earth does that ... or ever will

    you don't know the facts and circumstances known to the officer.

    in my case, he had valid reasonable suspicion that i was an armed robbery suspect. *i* did not know that. but it's irrelevant.

  • ||

    ""then you have an opportunity for redress later.""

    That's almost funny. Do you have any statistics for redress over a "illegal demand" and demand is a key word? You might, might get redress for an illegal action such as unnecessary violence, but just for a demand, probably not.

  • ||

    On a long enough time line everybody's survibal rate drops to zero.

  • ||

    Sorry. The B is right next to the V.

  • sevo||

    "On a long enough time line everybody's survibal rate drops to zero."
    I hope you didn't think this meant anything.
    It doesn't.

  • Kelly Thomas' Ghost||

    yes, FAR more people are killed by cops than are killed by terrorism. but when you look at what %age of traffic stops result in deaths *and* that almost all of them are clearly justified, etc. the fear is... IRRATIONAL.

    Doesn't make me any less dead, Dunphy...

    And it wasn't even my fault, either, fucker.

  • ||

    Yeah, well, if you hadn't tried crawling away in a noncompliant manner, you might still be alive and facing charges, rather than dead and buried.

  • ||

    ""again, the stats don't lie.""

    Sure they can. Here's a book that can help.

    http://www.amazon.com/How-Lie-.....870&sr=8-1

  • ||

    ""i've already posted the stats.""

    Fear is often irrational when you look at the stats. That's the point of the article, no?

    Having said that, cops are everywhere around us, terrorist are not, so it's easy to understand why the irrational fear of cops is greater than the irrational fear of terrorist.

  • fyngyrz||

    As police are engaged in enforcing unauthorized law upon the citizens, police -- by definition -- comprise the terrorist arm of the government. Only if/when the laws comply with the authorized limits and constraints specified by the document that authorizes the government in the first place, and/or police restrict themselves to enforcing only such laws, will police be exercising legitimate power. Until then, they are no more than criminals exercising unauthorized, and therefore illegitimate, power.

    For instance, police cannot legitimately force or insist upon entry to a person's home, or search them or their belongings, without a warrant. No such power was ever authorized to the federal government, and the state governments are compelled to follow precisely the same rules. Therefore, if the police perform such actions, they are no better than thugs.

  • sevo||

    "As police are engaged in enforcing unauthorized law upon the citizens, police -- by definition -- comprise the terrorist arm of the government."
    Exactly.
    Dunphy's protestations that it doesn't happen often is nothing other than an excuse for it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What if your ex-wife is a police officer and a Muslim?

  • ||

    Then I would have offed myself on my honeymoon. Her being muslim would have had nothing to do with it, btw.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But what if your wife were a police officer, Muslim, and Wafah Dufour bin Laden?

  • ||

    If she's a cop, it's still no-go. But methinks with their aversion to pork, not too many moslims are gonna be in both demographics. It's just not halal, man.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Someone should tell the mutaween that.

  • Osama bin-Laden's ghost||

    Wafah! You putcher clothes back on! You hussy!

  • PantsFan||

    run away from a muslim? they won't care.
    run away from a cop? that's a tazing

  • ||

    Depends on whether my rear rocket launcher is stocked.

    Also, do Muslims drive around in conspicuously marked vehicles with lights on top?

  • Hugh Akston||

    No, but then not all cops do either. "Protecting and Serving" is way easier if the rubes don't see you coming.

  • some guy||

    Muslims ride around in mini-vans with crescent and sickle stickers on the back. Haven't you been paying attention?

    Sometimes the sticker also has a palm tree.

  • imhotep||

    The only terrorism I fear is from the government. The only terrorism exists is from the government.

  • Government = Civilization||

    "government" is the "state" part of "agricultural city-state."

    You can't divorce the state from the agricultural city-state; it is indivisible like a transmission-motor-vehicle.

    "Agriculture creates government." ~Richard Manning, Against the Grain, p. 73

  • ||

    "Agriculture creates government." ~Richard Manning, Against the Grain, p. 73

    You do realize that your hero's name reads "Manning, Dick" in his bibliography, right?

  • Alpo Poodle Fibertarian Slayer||

    Yeah, you argue like Leninist.

    Zero principles.

    Zero reason.

    Only want more Alpo, right Poodle-boy?

  • ||

    poodle? what happened to you?
    did your mom's dog bite your wee arrow?

  • sevo||

    Troll, starving. It's not hard to grasp.

  • ||

    sorry, i never had a younger sibling to torment...

  • fyngyrz||

    It's ok. He'll just go off and herd a bunch of buffalo off a cliff in order to get that comfy feel of a... what did he call it? A free, drunken, clueless state? Well, something like that, anyway.

  • Metazoan||

    I don't think some electric vehicles have transmissions (at least not like gasoline ones), as electric motors can deliver constant torque over a wide range of speeds :)

  • Civilization = Terrorism||

    Premise Three: Our way of living—industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

    ~Derrick Jensen
    Endgame
    www.endgamethebook.org/excerpts.html

    Civilization is a 10,000 year long Trail of Tears.

  • ||

    someone tell me why "stone age livin'" is so much better than what we have today...

  • ||

    yup, free to die in child birth...

  • Alpo Poodle Fibertarian Slayer||

    Wrong, Bucky.

    Fibertarian tell lies, speak with forked tongue.

    Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie. Like a Leninist.

    Guess what? Empirical evidence shows you are wrong. Deal with it.

    If you can read, Alpo City-Slicker Poodle.

    Health and the Rise of Civilization
    Professor Mark Nathan Cohen
    Yale University Press
    www.primitivism.com/health-civilization.htm

    In this book, the author challenges the popular assumption that "primitive" societies are poor, ill, and malnourished, and that progress through civiliztion automatically implies improved health. Cohen reviews the major prehistoric social and technological transformations that resulted in the emergence of civilization, and evaluates the impact of these transformations on health and nutrition through the ages. Using findings from epidemiology, anthropology, and archaeology, Cohen provides evidence about the actual effects of civilization on health, concluding that primitive populations, whether in prehistory or in the modern world, have surprisingly successful health records compared to many prehistoric and historic civilizations and to some populations of the modern Third World. He argues that some aspects of "progress" create as many health problems as they prevent or cure. ~Amazon Review

  • ||

    that small pox...
    it just slays me...

  • ||

    elitist evidence from Yale?
    next you'll try some b.s. that "Crazy Horse" was the "original green man"...

  • JMW||

  • Someone||

    Can't. Isn't.

  • sevo||

    trolls, starvation, etc.
    Trolls can't be killed with guns, knives or even dip.
    Only by starving.

  • Alpo Poodle Fibertarian Slayer||

    sevo piss panties

    sevo don't like libertarian talking points being used against sevo who speak with forked tongue

    watch sevo squirm in wet panties

  • ||

    I wouldn't have to buy a hunting or fishing license.

  • ||

    wheels? you like wheels?
    or how about horses?

  • Alpo Poodle Fibertarian Slayer||

    I like Non-State societies.

    Got a problem with that, Fibertarian?

    NON-STATE AND STATE SOCIETIES
faculty.smu.edu/rkemper/cf_3333/Non_State_and_State_Societies.pdf

  • ||

    Then get off the internet, out of your mom's basement and go into the woods and start one. Who's stopping you?

    Sometimes the trolls are funny. Sometimes they just shit all over an interesting discussion. You're not funny.

  • Officer, am I free to gambol?||

    Officer, am I free to gambol across forest and plain?

    No?

    That's why, LauraB.

    Civilization is totalitarian in its invasion and occupation of nearly every square meter of fertile ground upon mother earth.

    And you're like a rapist laughing how a victim can't escape.

    Just like a City-STATIST to be that way.

  • twenty-something||

    Actually, I've met some hippies that live in the woods and live off the land. They never mentioned being hassled by the man.

    Have you actually tried it? You'd probably be a lot happier if you could be all one with Gaia instead of pestering a bunch of libertarians.

    You know, unless you are a hypocrite.

  • JMW||

    We're assuming that White Indian can even hack it living off the land the way your hippies do.

    More likely he's someone who lionises something he's only ever seen on TV, and never even experienced first-hand: wilderness.

    Safer for him to just yell at the Reasonoids from the secure confines of his civilised house instead.

  • sevo||

    "You're not funny."
    No use beating them over the head, shooting, stabbing or trying to drown them.
    Trolls are only served dead by starvation.

  • sevopoodle||

    sevo
    poodle
    nipping at heels
    like Obama
    need more
    Alpo

  • Alpo Poodle Fibertarian||

    I don't like freedom. I don't like Liberty. I don't like Non-State societies.

    I'm weak. I'd die. I've devolved into a domesticated poodle form of homo poodlian. I need my fibertarian ALPO.

    With private defense agencies. To protect my ALPO.

    Privatize ALPO.

    There is still a little bit of human in domesticated city-slicker poodles. 10,000 years is a short time.

    Find it.

  • Fluffy||

    This "reasonable" thing is pretty neat.

    A question: how do I add someone to the troll list?

  • Alpo Poodle Fibertarian Slayer||

    fluffy piss panties

    no like libertarian talking points being used truthfully

    fluffy like a priori bullshit, not empirical evidence that debunks false premises

  • PantsFan||

    you should see an ignore option next to their name?

  • PantsFan||

    you should see an ignore option next to their name?

  • PantsFan||

    maybe if reasonable rejected double posts too

  • Fluffy||

    OK, I thought that was just ignoring them for me.

    That adds them to the public list too? Awesome.

  • ||

    You have to have that option set. I think it's off by default.

  • BigT||

    How do you set that? I don't see an ignore option.

  • ignorance rising||

    How do you set that? I don't see an ignorance option.

  • Merdre||

    oh sweetheart, its not somethinhg you can ever turn off

  • ||

    Chrome + reasonable

    Don't leave home without it.

  • ||

    beads, i have some useless beads?

  • Apatheist||

    Woah, this might make me switch from firefox to chrome. I will give it a whirl for a few days. I've heard that chrome runs faster but I've been too lazy to re-customize a new browser.

  • ||

    Have a nice thread, guys. Could someone please e-mail me when they kick this fucking asshole off of here and allow for some real discourse?

    Goddammit. I like a laugh as much as the next guy, but this has gotten to the point of absurdity. It's first few posts a couple of weeks ago made me laugh a bit. Then it got old. Then it got annoying. Now it's driving people, including me, away.

  • ||

    It's rectal, but her shriek sockpuppet got banned so she created a new one. Don't you recognize the obsession?

  • FIBERTARIAN CAPS WIN WIN||

    ya'll are being beaten with your own "principles" that you can't even hold too

    thus the hysteria

  • sevo||

    "It's rectal, but her shriek sockpuppet got banned so she created a new one. Don't you recognize the obsession?"
    Dunno.
    I don't recall rectal providing cites to whacko primitivists. This one seems to have actually wasted a lot of time reading that crap.

  • sevopoodle||

    I don't recall sevo providing cites to whacko Fibertarianism. This one seems to have actually wasted a lot of time reading that crap.

  • FIBERTARIAN CAPS WIN WIN||

    bye bye

    survival of the smartest, as some say

  • Fluffy||

    It's not so bad now that I can Ignore people.

  • comfort in ignore-ance||

    later, dimwit, I didn't figure you could stand being paddled with your own talking points

  • ||

    Now it's driving people, including me, away.

    That's exactly what it wants. fapfapfapfapfap...

    See here. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

  • ||

  • Sidd Finch||

    and a neo-Malthusian terrorist was shot by police during a hostage incident at the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland (2009)

    WTF, Ron. Did Malthus' descendants pee on your rug or something?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You don't remember the late Mr. Lee's batshit insane demands and zero-population growth manifesto?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Ron and I had a back and forth last week about what Malthus actually wrote. I think his position then was at least plausible, but this is just nonsense. Lee is just one of those Earth worshipers who thinks humans pollute the planet.

  • John "Malthus" Galt||

    Libertarian Malthusianism:

    (1) we have too many philosophically undesirable people in the world.

    (2) We'll just withdraw the energy supplies (Galt's motor, Ellis Wyatt's shale oil, Ken Dannager's coal) that sustain them.

    (3) We'll watch the resulting die off from Primitivist Galt's Gulch.

    (4) We will restore Earth to its Objectivist carrying capacity.

  • DroidAnn||

    Was Mr. Lee as batshit crazy as Ayn Rand?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Dear White Idiot,

    There's nothing sexy about spam-trolling.

    Sincerely,

    TEH TUBES

  • ||

    hey, how can you be white?
    aren't you the Original Red Man?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    No, Honky Indian. I'm saying that you are dull. Duller than shrike at his mind-numbingly dullest. You might even be duller than Kurt Loder which would be a feat of dullness so great as to merit serious consideration for the Guinness Book of World Records. Your mental fumblings are reminiscent of a teenage boy fumbling at a girl's training bra, or in your specific case, you fumbling for a coherent thesis. I'm not even certain English is your first language and if it isn't, I must recommend, in the strongest possible terms, remedial ESL classes. If it is, then you are a shining example of the failures of the Prussian-inspired American school system and you should be marched around the Department of Education building wearing nothing but a sandwich board proclaiming your ignorance so that the education bureaucrats might at last feel shame and atone for their failures with seppuku. I'm also saying that despite the glaring authorial appeal rampant in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand could have let a bloody shit loose in her hand, flung it across a keyboard and come up with a better thought than you have futilely attempted to project in the weeks you have darkened reason with your malodorous presence. I'm saying that your very existence is proof of a deity who gets his jollies by enabling morons like you, who should have rightly drowned in the bathtub before adulthood, to breed rampantly and in the rare moments when you aren't breeding to have cheap internet access in order to make others aware of just how blindingly stupid you are.

    In short, I give you an F for trolling.

  • ||

    This compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000.

    Clearly, the government must require us to drive no faster than 10 mph in crash-proof cars that will only move when there's no other object within 50 feet of them; and they must order the immediate installation of waterless bathtubs in every home.

  • The Government||

    In addition, I'm mandating that all drivers and passengers wear Inflatable Sumo Costumes at all times while in a motor vehicle.

  • Robert||

    Waterless bathtubs are the most dangerous because they contain nothing to cushion your fall. You want marshmallow filled bathtubs. No, check that, marshmallow's flammable.

  • JMW||

    You just can't win with the safety-fetishists can you?

  • ||

    We suffered through more successful acts of terrorism in the 80's - albeit none anywhere near as bad as 911. We never overreacted then.

    Maybe having the Soviet Union to worry about kept things in perspective for us.

  • ||

    We didn't overreact to attacks in the 80's and 90's and look what that got us, an escalation in the scale of the attacks. Thus our present reaction is to prevent further escalation and copy attacks by others who think the sleeping giant can't fill the pin pricks.

  • ||

    The Justice Department ( I choke using that term to describe them ) actively supplied arms to the most vicious criminals on the planet with the hopes that the carnage that ensued would create an atmosphere of fear which would be conducive to successful legal attacks on the second amendment. Get that? American and Mexican civilian and LEO deaths to further a political agenda; terrorism.

    Factor this in and your chances of dying by an act of terrorism go up a bit.

  • ||

    and they called it "fast and furious"

  • wingnutx||

    Have fun shooting tea partiers in the face.

    http://teapartyzombiesmustdie.com/

  • ||

    Does it make you feel better? In real life, I win the shoot-out.

  • JJJ||

    Oh boy! There's 3 different Koch related zombies to destroy!!!

  • David E. Gallaher/Ruthless||

    To state the obvious. I'm the mighty Ruthless. I never wuz skeered. Mebbe them skairdy Bushes wuz trimblin'. I never wuz. Never axed for Homeland Security. Never axed for security period. Am just patiently waiting for Patri Friedman to build my floating nursing home offshore.

  • Terrorism Defined to Narrowly||

    Rising Birth Defects. It's a fact.

    Pollution. Bin Laden. Corn. What's the difference if you lose your life because of another's deliberate or "negligent" (ahem!, as if they don't know) actions?

  • Doug||

    You're preaching to the choir, Ron. By changing our behavior over an irrational paranoia that "they're coming to get me", we've effectively forfeited the game to terrorists.

  • دمع||

    Nice

  • دمع||

    Nice

  • Esteban||

    More frightened of my own government than a terrorist.

  • Trail of Tears||

    More frightened of my own government than a terrorist.

    I hear ya.

    That slaver Thomas Jefferson was the originator of the Indian Removal Act.

    I suppose blacks and redmen aren't the right capitalist color.

    Certainly not to Rothbard either.

    In short; racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors. ~Murray Rothbard

  • JMW||

    How many records do you need to wear the grooves off of from over-playing the same. damn. song before you get tired, Indian?

    You're a one-hit wonder, and the song wasn't even mediocre at best.

  • Piss JMW Moan||

    Now you and your mom's names are joined together in holy mattress-moany.

  • JMW||

    Wow I sure struck a nerve didn't I?

  • sevo||

    Starving trolls is the only way to kill them.
    Feeding them even a cracker allows them to live.
    They deserve to die.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Trolls live off the cracker "don't feed the trolls" as well as any other.

  • sevo||

    "Trolls live off the cracker "don't feed the trolls" as well as any other."
    Nope.
    Not if the cracker is given to others.
    Look how WI is now screeching at me and look how WI is ignored.

  • PaEsquire||

    No fear. Living in fear is not living.

  • ||

    Our Admin in Server,
    hallowed be your name.
    Your web-page come,
    your code be done,
    on client-side as it is on Server-side.
    Give us this day our daily comments,
    and forgive us our rants,
    as we also have forgiven our ranters.
    And lead us not into responding,
    but deliver us from troll.

  • sevo||

    Trolls, starvation.
    But like real life, people leave pet food out and wonder why they have rats.
    Trolls, starvation.
    That's all.

  • It's Flub--F-F-f-Fibertarian||

    Not intellectual enough for highly evolved band animal homo sapien.

    Domesticated Poodles cranial space smaller.

    Must Pray to God.

    LOL

    In short, domestication, for humans, is a kind of brain damage...

    Wolves & Dogs
    by Jason Godesky | 13 November 2006
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/2.....index.html

  • ||

    Or feed the birds with old bread.

  • ||

    amen.

  • ||

    AMEN!

  • Apple||

    "You are four times more likely to be killed by a lightning bolt than by a terror attack"

    So far.

  • Apple||

    Not that I'm scared or anything.

  • ||

    i'm four times more likely to be bored by Fake Injun...

  • Joe Twelvepack||

    You are four times more likely to be killed by a lightning bolt than by a terror attack.

    Dammit, now I'm scared of lightning too!

  • Qetesh||

    Yeah, now we we have to worry about angering Zeus (praised be his name)

  • ||

    Where are the pagan counterparts to the Westboro Baptist Church who carry signs saying ZEUS HATES AMERICA?

  • dressing||

    good article

  • Bobarian||

    In support of anti-terrorism spending:

    Lightning is a random act with no intention (other than to keep you from running around with a metal rod in a storm).
    Terrorism is a deliberate political act and the only randomness of it is in the extent of destruction. The purpose of the act is to influence the political will and curtail the freedom of a population. Effective curtailment of terrorism is expensive, but it is also worth it. We don't want to live like Israel or many other mid-east countries.
    A valid argument can still be made that we spend too much on preventing terrorism, but I don't believe that comparing it to lightning is the right argument.

  • ||

    Actually, treating terrorist attacks as unavoidable events, like lightning strikes, is precisely what would defeat the purpose of terrorism. The terrorists want us to flail about, waste resources, and generally do stupid things trying to prevent attacks that are either extremely unlikely to be prevented (eg Beltway sniper) or extremely unlikely to succeed (eg underwear bomber). Hence the "terror" in the name.

  • ||

    wait just a minute...
    we put the terror in terrorism, they want us to roll over and die, like the weaklings Clinton made us look like...

  • ||

    Oh, I'm sure they want us to die. But they know they can't make it happen by a direct attack. The direct impact of the 9/11 attacks for instance was essentially negligible compared to the size of the US population and the US economy at the time. And keep in mind 9/11 is by far the most destructive terrorist attack in history...but it's still a pinprick in the big picture without our overreaction.

    To cause significant damage they need to provoke a self-destructive reaction on our part...which is exactly what they did.

  • ||

    someone at this point needs to bring up the Kardashians...

  • ||

    +1

  • sevo||

    "Effective curtailment of terrorism is expensive, but it is also worth it."
    Cite?

  • Bobarian||

    I have nothing to cite; I just believe we could do it more efficiently and less expensively, but we can't do it both effectively and cheaply.
    If you're questioning if it is worth it, I can't help you there.

  • ||

    Do what more efficiently?

    Preventing terror attacks is a goal, not a thing that one just decides to do. It's not at all clear what one does to achieve that goal.

  • Merdre||

    I have this rock. Since I have had this rock, I have not been attacked by terrorists.
    We simply need more of these rocks.

  • sevo||

    "If you're questioning if it is worth it, I can't help you there."
    Sorry, you just claimed it was. So are you lying now, or were you lying then?

  • ||

    The second intifada in per capita terms would have killed 100,000 Americans. This is what they planned to do in America, before Bush stomped on the Arabs and made them learn.

    Prissy libertarians should learn from this.

  • ||

    in other news, Wakmadinajad announced they will now bury their "nuclear energy program" even deeper...

  • ||

    Ouch. The Swiss central bank sure as hell terrorized Eurozone safe-haven-seekers today:

    The Swiss National Bank shocked markets on Tuesday by setting an exchange rate cap on the soaring franc to stave off a recession, discouraging investors anxious about flagging global growth from using the currency as a safe haven.

    Using some of the strongest language from a central bank in the modern era, the SNB said it would no longer tolerate an exchange rate below 1.20 francs to the euro and would defend the target by buying other currencies in unlimited quantities.

    That's right guys, just turn the dials on the big machine in the basement to get the exchange rates where you want them.

    While investigating this story, I also happened upon some heartworming testimony from Theodore Allison of the Federal Reserve in 1998:

    But the more important question you raise, and I think it is a good one, is the impact of the high denomination notes. We believe that any substitution of dollars into euros or indeed any other currency is likely to take place only rather slowly. The dollar has a very strong position in the world as the preferred currency for household saving and for transacting a range of business activities. It is accepted very widely in the world. It is very widely available. The U.S. has never recalled any of its outstanding notes, so holders know that these notes are always going to be acceptable. We have a strong history of political stability, the most enviable in the world and the dollar has held its value reasonably well over a long period. So the worldwide demand for the dollar as a consequence is based on this unusually favorable combination of wide acceptability, political and financial continuity and esteem. The euro may in time earn a similar kind of status. It seems likely, though, that any major substitution of euros for dollars as a trusted store of value would take place fairly gradually.

    But let's do look at the question of the high denomination notes as well as another issue I would like to introduce today. The second issue is the possible perception that the dollar notes are less secure against counterfeiting, so I will just touch on that briefly also because I do think that might be more important even than the role of the high denomination notes.

    I have included a table on page 5. It shows a tremendous concentration of value in our outstanding notes in $100 bills. Indeed, two-thirds of the value of outstanding U.S. notes is in $100 bills. That heavy concentration suggests that there may well be some unmet demand for a more efficient and more convenient higher denomination. It does seem plausible to us that if the $100 were to remain our largest denomination, there could be for some transactions a preference for the =200 or =500 euro note, simply because that would greatly reduce the cost and the time involved in making the transaction.

    A good example is real estate transactions. In many of the republics of the former Soviet Union today, notwithstanding what the local laws and regulations may be, most real estate transactions take place in U.S. $100 dollar bills. It takes a long time to count out a thousand $100 bills. For example, if the property involved is $100,000. It would take only one-fifth or one-sixth as much time if that were done in =500 euro notes. There may be therefore, some switching. We don't believe that will be substantial, at least not in the short run.

    There are public policies against reissuing the $500 note, mainly because many of those efficiency gains, such as lower shipment and storage costs, would accrue not only to legitimate users of bank notes, but also to money launderers, tax evaders and a variety of other law breakers who use currency in their criminal activity. While it is not at all clear that the volume of illegal drugs sold or the amount of tax evasion would necessarily increase just as a consequence of the availability of a larger dollar denomination bill, it no doubt is the case that if wrongdoers were provided with an easier mechanism to launder their funds and hide their profits, enforcement authorities could have a harder time detecting certain illicit transactions occurring in cash. Consequently, we believe that the law enforcement community should be consulted in any final decision about reissuing $500 notes.

    When you pay in cash, you pay with Don Corleone, I guess. Problem is of course that the $100 bill is worth about $20 compared to when they stopped making the $500 bill.

  • ||

    The Second Amendment is the answer to terrorism, domestic or foreign.

  • Mr. Mark||

    Terrorist attacks kill very few people as a proportion of the population and as a proportion of total deaths in a year.

    However, the primary damage of a terror attack is not the actual physical damage done - it is the psychological and political damage, which reaches far beyond the immediate victims of the attack.

    For example, if a person or group attacks a civilian target in a spectacular way, creating a horrific scene of mass murder, then the public is of course angry at the terrorist group, but is also angry with the failure of government to prevent the attack. If the group makes a second attack, the public is again angry with the group itself, but is also angry with the government for again having failed to prevent the attack (and this time their anger is greater than it was the first time). The third and subsequent attacks work the same way, with the public becoming more and more frustrated with the failure to stop the attacks. This is an INTENDED EFFECT of terrorist attacks - terrorists know that this is one of the effects that terror attacks create and they view this as useful for driving a wedge between government and the governed. There are other effects, also intended, but this one is so often unrecognized by casual observers and the talking-head "experts" that show up on the news channels babbling about this and that. I point out this particular effect only to illustrate the psychological and political nature of terrorism, which seems important since the author of the article has focused entirely on the physical, direct damage of terror attacks.

    However, a more dangerous effect of terrorism is the ravenous way in which politicians and bureaucrats lick their chops and pounce on any attack as an irresistible opportunity to rapidly expand the powers of government far beyond reason and constitutional limits. The government responded to the 9/11 attacks by bringing us the patriot act and lots of other really bad ideas (many of which were thankfully dismissed - too bad the patriot act has not been ushered out the door with them).

    The next major attack on U.S. soil, politicians and bureaucrats will be tripping over themselves to further expand government power and intrusiveness - all in the name of "security." You can respond to that by pointing out that such an overreaction by government is wrong, and I agree with you, but what good is it that you know it's a bad idea? I'm firmly in the Don't Touch My Junk camp, but a quick look around tells me that there's plenty of folks in this country who AREN'T. There are plenty of people in this country whose vision of national security and law enforcement come from watching episodes of JAG and CSI on televsion and who FULLY subscribe to the "I've nothing to hide, so why should I care" mentality (enough to convince the politicians they're on safe ground to go full-blown-security-nanny).

    It doesn't matter that you know that the public should not panic if another attack occurs. They will anyway.

    It doesn't matter that you know that the government should not listen to the irrational demands of the people who are panicking following a future attack. Not only will they listen, they and their chums in the media will be amplifying irrational demands in a 24/7 propaganda blitz, in which exposure and repetition are directly proportional to the irrationality of the demands.

    So, because of the psychological and political effects of a major terrorist attack, it is imperative that reasonable, effective steps be taken to prevent such an attack from occurring. We can debate WHAT those steps should be, but to directly correlate the number of casualties and dollar value of property damage with the dollars spent on combating terrorism is not an honest, rational, well informed approach because it ignores the psychological and political nature of terrorism.

  • ||

    The only REAL terrorists we should be afraid of live in Washington, London and Tel Aviv. There is no threat from foreign terrorism. Even if there were, the best way to deal with it would be to stop mucking around with other peoples countries.

  • ||

    London and Tel Aviv are foreign cities.

  • Mr. Mark||

    To him, they're not just foreign, they're off-planet.

  • White Indian's Nutshell||

  • ||

    The difference between lightning and terrorism is that terrorism demands a response.

    The problem with terrorism is not that one is likely to die from it. The problem is that failure to respond to it appropriately could result in an increase in the use of it as a tactic.

    Which is why our excellent bodies with their uber-efficient psyches respond (appropriately) to terrorism differently than to lightning.

  • sevo||

    "The difference between lightning and terrorism is that terrorism demands a response."
    Assertion minus any proof.

  • ||

    But it's peachie AOK for MOSSAD.CIA.MI5/MI6 to freely travel anywhere and kill POLITICIANS at will. Notice USA/UK politicians who declared invasions freely walk amoungest us? Proves that Muslims are nice folks that mind their own business.
    Sept 11 20001 was planned by Bill Clinton and Aerial Sharon in 1996.Stop blaming Muslims--if obtuse reporters keep it up--they will do what they been blamed for and killed in the millions--4oil

  • Mr. Mark||

    Sale on tin-foil! 50% off! But wait, there's more! If you're one of the next 100 callers, you'll also get a refill on that Prozac prescription!

  • sevo||

    Hey, and s/he missed the blue-light special on tin-foil lids, aisle 6!

  • Lyn||

    "But we should also recognize that terrorism is a hollow threat to which we should not surrender one iota of our liberties."

    I don't know that we surrendered. Instead I think we were duped by our elected leaders and then sold out by them. The article's point that way too much money was spent/wasted by untrustworthy fools to secure us is a point I agree with.

    By the way America has been a police state for decades, not just for the few years since 09/11/01. I wonder if anyone can come up with a comparison like you're X times as likely to be pepper sprayed, tased, falsely arrested, etc. than to be a victim of terrorism.

  • ||

    please tell me how your civil liberties have eroded since 9/11, i'm curious, i'm not trying to be a smartass...

  • Mr. Mark||

    Patriot Act.

  • ||

    and what part of the Patriot Act eroded your civil liberties...
    and no i don't fly...

  • sevo||

    TSA.
    Love to be groped so you can go on your way?
    I don't.

  • ||

    A friend of mine was struck by lightening TWICE. He wasn't killed though. I do live in West Central Florida, where lightning striking people is not uncommon.

  • ||

    I'm very terrified the governmint will try to kill me so they will have another reason to cut back on freedoms.

  • Mr. Mark||

    You're absolutely correct.

    I recommend fleeing to Canada.

  • John||

    The better statistic is that you are over 500 times more likely to kill yourself than be a victim of terrorism.

  • ||

    I predict that shortly after the next catastrophic airplane crash (200-300 deaths) some clown will write that we are much more likely to die in an automobile crash than an airplane crash.

  • Mr. Mark||

    Oh-no's! The truth!!!!

  • Mr. Mark||

    Oh-no's! The truth!!!!

  • ||

    "four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist." thats right and weather its a terrorist or a thunderstorms I don't stand out in the open when either one is around like a duck on a pond waiting to be hit.
    We take positive action to keep harm full things from hurting us.

  • sevo||

    "We take positive action to keep harm full things from hurting us."
    Even if they cost more than they save!

  • ||

    Ronald, you are using faulty reasoning when you suggest that because we haven't had large attacks and loss of life since 911, that terrorism isn't a threat. Great work and money have been spent to ensure this wouldn't happen and so there is no way to calculate what might have been had it not. It is like saying Hitler wasn't a real threat to the world because he didn't succeed in taking over the world.

  • ||

    You are using faulty reasoning to assume that a negative didn't happen because of a positive.

    If I sold you a bear-protection amulet for $400 million dollars and you never got mauled by a bear, would your non-faulty reasoning lead you to assume that it worked?

  • ||

    Couldn't we just spend $0 and get the fuck out of middle-eastern politics?

    Would everybody be okay with that level of spending?

  • Mr. Mark||

    The problem is that middle eastern politics comes to us.

    You may remember some of their deliveries....

  • ||

    Dude, we were fucking majorly with middle eastern politics for decades before 9/11/01. It doesn't justify what al Qaeda did but it does give a hint as to their motivation, and the course of action that will reduce the danger of terrorism.

  • ||

    please google "weak horse"...

  • ||

    Theres a difference between weather and terrorism. ones and act of god and we cant do anything about it but prepare for it. The other is an act of individuals and we can stop them.

  • ||

    If we knew where lightning was going to strike in advance, we could easily stop it by building lightning rods around the area.

    So it's not really that different from trying to stop terrorists. We need to know who and where they are before the attacks occur. And that's not significantly easier than predicting lightning strikes.

  • Entropy||

    How about deer? Are they an act of god or could we stop them?

    They kill 150 Americans a year, so since 2001, 1,350 people.

    Bees kill 50 people a year in the US, that's 450 people since '01.

    Just in terms of resources spent vs. lives saved, would you say we should spend half the the cost of the TSA putting up sonic deer fences on rural sidestreets? It'd have about a hundredfold improvement on payoff.

  • sevo||

    "The other is an act of individuals and we can stop them."
    Maybe we can.
    At what cost?

  • ||

    A lasting tragedy occurred as a result of 9/11 has been the erosion of our civil liberties and Constitutional rights, The Patriot Act , DHS and TSA have only been effective in stripping us of our rights and invading the privacy of countless millions of Americans. They continue to inflict abuse and misery on our fellow citizens and claim it as a success.

    This has culminated in TSA digitally strip searching and molesting children and adults with impunity. After a cost of over a trillion dollars all that they have done is harass and molest passengers in a ruse intended to portray airport security.

    Incredibly, in less than a year TSA has managed to convince millions of Americans that it is acceptable to digitally strip search and fondle the privates of their children as a condition of air travel. No one would have believed this last year and yet here we are, now forced to endure complete subjugation, submitting our bodies to the hands of a government clerk because spineless politicians have been bullied into allowing this abuse by a power hungry bureaucracy that is only interested in furthering its own fortunes.

    It is long past time to dismantle this agency and prosecute those responsible for this travesty.
    TSA Crimes & Abuses
    http://www.travelunderground.o.....rimes.317/

  • ||

    The question the rest of the world should ask is "How Scared of the U.S. Should You Be?" If you consider that over 1 million people have been killed in the "War OF Terror" over the past decade. You have 1 in 7000 chance of being killed by the U.S. government if you are a non U.S. citizen in the next 10 years. And that conservative number excludes the covert assassinations in other countries that occur daily in places we do not hear about.

  • ||

    pass that along to Fake Injun...

  • Jacob||

    Should we consider the poor airline security prior to 9/11. If the whole event would have been prevented think of the savings financially. (one war and trillions of dollars) Did the previous security prevent any plots from occurring or were there any? Instead of complaining so adamantly about taking our shoes off we should hold Robert Crandall’s team accountable… More losses by the private sector being financed by the public

  • admin@securityaffiar.com||

    "we should also recognize that terrorism is a hollow threat"
    Obviously a statement from an uninformed and very naive individual. There are many men and women doing things quietly that is not publicized to ensure we are not attacked again on US soil. As far as those commenting that it is a waste of money and lives they too are uninformed and naive. The very fact that we still have people trying to justify why we were attacked and those that do not understand that this is a global war against fundamentalist extremists is an insult to all those who have bravely sacrificed and fought to give you the freedom to be ignorant.

  • ||

    Yes, we might have gone too far, and it is certainly worth noting that it's expensive.

    I should point out though that one of the reasons that so few are killed by lightning strikes is that over the millenia, we've learned to head for shelter when we see lightning coming - and we can usually see it from a long way off. It's simple common sense.

    So, I'm not sure what is being suggested here. Should we leave it to individuals to pay for their own anti-terrorism measures, in which case the wealthiest might be a lot safer than anyone else? Are we better off not having emails scanned for threatening words or contacts with known terrorists overseas? I'm not sure on the first and the second doesn't really apply to me, although perhaps there is a dossier on me several inches thick because I don't like certain politicians and do like others. That would be a definite loss of rights. But has the author made that case? We all know that the technology is there to be used. Right now we have some guidelines and it's not as secret as it might have been otherwise. That genie is coming out of the bottle one way or another.

    Also, the author hasn't even begun to assess what that definition of terror suggests. People become afraid to live their everyday lives when there is a legitimate threat of terror - constantly. No analysis would be complete unless we looked at the loss of output due to security measures vs. the loss of output due to fear - lost workdays, stress, confusion due to sleeplessness - silly things that become parts of many people's lives simply because they're scared.

    And then, which parts of our anti-terror programs should we scrap? Do you really want to increase the chance of someone taking over a plane and crashing it into a field? How many would have to die before we go back to what we have. Several hundred thousand to meet your cost-benefit criteria? Look what we did when only 3,000 died. Are you suggesting we only get tough when 10,000 have died? 50,000? How many? Until the cost averages out to $9M per lost life? But that's not really the problem is it? The problem is lost mobility and a huge reduction in GDP because people are afraid to fly. Long before your cost-benefit issues are addressed every single airline will be out of business - no passengers. Just remember what happened air travel after 9/11.

    I think the author's point is worth noting. But I think it's too casual bordering on flippant.

  • Edward Philliops||

    Terror is Bull**** Why?
    I decided to make a case about the thing called Terror. We are Americans and we do could care less about terror I tell you why. In the years following 911 so-called terror attack I wanted to find some credible evidence about what I think is our terror. I decided to look the FBI’s Crime Reports Data or UCR Reports and they provide data about our our domestic terror. Mind you the Reports only report on crimes that have been reported by the Cops as a single occurrence and it is not a truly accurate total. There is a lot more that is not reported.
    Anyway in the years following there were approximately 13,962,926 Million Violent Crimes that occurred in the Republic of the United States. Yes I said Millions. That Included: About 164,000 thousand Murders which is about 161,000 thousand more murders than occurred on that eventful day. Also there were about 927,000 thousand Forcible Rapes, about 8.6 Million Aggravated Assaults, over a 100 million occurrences of property crimes.
    So what is terror? I will terror is the Government and their endless Illegal Wars. Also the terrible laws that were past post 911.

  • Elise||

    One life is too many. But you only name civilians. Military, military contractors, journalists and others need to be include in the death toll. America and others are increasing those figures in the name of the war on terror. You want to stop terrorism? Don't start wars.

  • LifeStrategies||

    Yes, great article indeed! This suggests that it's entirely rational to want governments to have less rather than more power. They don't know how to handle it effectively, yet we all bear the substantial costs...

  • 4thaugust1932||

    A terrorist is a freedom fighter who isn't on your side.

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