Terrorism is a buzzword that puts people in fear, but sometimes it can be beneficial to step back and take a look at the real risks. This article details how much more likely you are to die from various causes than from an act of terrorism. Now I get it, there are some potential terrorist threats that could cause mass casualty… but how is what we are doing right now helping? Droning people overseas will not stop terrorists from coming into this country, it will invigorate others too. Spying on Americans and those in America will not stop terrorist plots, it will gum up the system so that law enforcement wastes their efforts on policing innocent people.
In 2011, 17 U.S. citizens worldwide were killed by terrorists, and in 2012 the number was even lower. in 2011 155 Americans were killed by police in the United States (versus worldwide). This means you are 9 times more likely to die from a police officer than a terrorist. And don’t fool yourself into thinking they all deserved it either.
The list includes people struck by stray police bullets, an unarmed veteran with ptsd shot and killed, an unarmed target of a warrant, a veteran Kenneth Chamberlain murdered by police after they broke into his home when his medical alert button was accidentally triggered, Kollin Elders shot by a State Department special agent charged with the murder, Jason Bitz shot to death while unarmed, opening a car with a screwdriver that he had permission to use, 5 men and women struck and killed by a police cars, a man shot accidentally during a safety class, a man tasered to death while being “subdued” suffering a medical episode, and multiple unarmed people shot for a small amount of marijuana, making “threatening” gestures, or driving their car “towards” an officer. These all happened in 2011 in America, and I only looked through about half the list before deciding my point was proven. We should be more concerned about police murdering us than terrorists murdering us.
You are also four times as likely to be struck by lightening, twice as likely to be killed by a dog, and just as likely to be crushed by your furniture as to be killed by a terrorist.
Defenders of U.S. counterterrorism efforts might argue that they have kept casualties low by thwarting attacks. But investigations by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies suggest that 9/11 may have been an outlier—an aberration—rather than a harbinger of future attacks. Muslim terrorists are for the most part “short on know-how, prone to make mistakes, poor at planning” and small in number, Mueller and Stewart stated. Although still potentially dangerous, terrorists hardly represent an “existential” threat on a par with those posed by Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union…
“Overall,” Mueller and Stewart wrote, “vastly more lives could have been saved if counterterrorism funds had instead been spent on combating hazards that present unacceptable risks.”
And it is silly to think that the things America has done to “thwart” terrorism has had a large effect, because outside of the United States, 200-400 people have been killed in non-war zones each year since 9/11 by terrorists. This ends up figuring to about the same rate of Americans being killed by terrorists, thus suggesting the measures taken by America have not helped.
And the worst part is the lives, money, and rights we sacrifice in order to “stop terrorism”. How many years of 17 Americans being killed by terrorists would it take to match the thousands of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire? How much money is stolen from the taxpayers, and wasted on spying on us, on bombing foreign countries, and on building military equipment that will be sold secondhand to police departments, and turned on us?
It is time we take things into perspective, and realize we are being played by the government. Terrorists are a far smaller threat to our safety than our own government.