Steve Chapman: We Worry Too Much About Terrorism

The chance that extremist violence will touch any of us directly was minuscule before the latest attacks, and it still is.


Camille Gevaudan

Each of the attacks in Paris that killed 17 people last week was an atrocity, a threat to freedom and an act of terrorism. On those points, most people agree, and they're right. Most people also fear this marks the beginning of a rash of extremist violence in the West. On that, they're probably wrong.

If we have learned anything from the experience since 9/11, it's that the public and its leaders chronically overestimate the danger posed by Islamic militants. This latest episode fits that pattern, writes Steve Chapman.

The danger today is not imaginary, but neither is the danger of being struck by lightning. We don't organize our government or lives around avoiding that risk, and we shouldn't do it for terrorism, according to Chapman.