Putting terrorism into perspective

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by yg17, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #1
    Out of curiosity, I decided to look up how many murders take place in the US each year. 16,000 and change. (Source: Straight from the FBI themselves. No bias here). 9/11 was responsible for 3,000 deaths. Had this recent terror plot gone through, it would've been about 3,000 more deaths (They targeted 10 flights, and 300 is a fair number of passengers on a transatlantic flight). So let's say we have one terrorist attack every 5 years, each killing 3,000 people. That averages out to 600 deaths a year from terrorism, vs. 16,000 deaths a year from violent crimes by your everyday criminals. Those terrorist attacks amount to absolutely nothing when compared with murders. Am I the only one who thinks there's something wrong here? We're off fighting a war, getting more soldiers and civilians killed, when a problem here at home, responsible for 26 times the amount of deaths as a result of what we're fighting against, is going completely ignored. If the number of murders isn't bad enough, the number of deaths from drunk driving is about the same. Number of people dying in the US each year because of terrorism: 600. Number of people dying each year from violent crimes or complete carelessness: 32,000. So what should we be fighting? Looking at the stats, it definitely isn't terrorism.

    It seems like the only reason 9/11 is a big deal is because it's 3,000 deaths at once. If the terrorists would've spread out 3,000 murders over the span of a year, no one would even notice it. I've heard the quote "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic," but it seems quite the opposite.

    Your thoughts? Am I completely off base here, or do I have a valid point?
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    certainly, there are many different ways to die and the methods which result in larger numbers of death should be given attention.

    i disagree that, because of the "low" numbers of casualties, that terror should be be put on some kind of back burner. clearly, there's a threat, and clearly, left unchecked, those casualties could climb much, much higher.

    however -- the point which i think you're trying to make has less to do with attention and limelight and more to do with resource allocation. if the sum total of the last 5 years of fighting terrorism (monetary, manpower, inconvenience, freedoms lost, etc) is compared to a "mere" few thousand lives lost, then we could conclude that we've gone somewhat overboard.

    dealing with 9/11 only for a moment, that retaliation should have by now been completed and at far less a cost. had that effort been approached rationally, UBL would now be in custody, afghanistan would be a functioning democracy, the taleban and AQ would have been all but mopped up, and the world would have remained united in the effort. PLUS we wouldn't be in the financial mess we're in now, not to mention the increased terrorism threat.

    in that scenario, i think your anger / outrage would have been greatly tempered.
     
  3. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #3
    I don't think we should ignore it, but we're certainly going about things in the wrong way. If anything, our presence in the middle east has pissed off more people and created more terrorists. It shouldn't be on the back burner, but it shouldn't be top priority either.
     
  4. MACDRIVE macrumors 68000

    MACDRIVE

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    #4
    If you add nuclear weapons to the equation, would you make it a priority then?
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #5
    we've become a single issue nation. it distracts nicely from everything else that's ****ed up in our country.
     
  6. KingYaba macrumors 68040

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    #6
    It would be the #1 priority (If it isn't now...)

    Plus don't you understand it's easier to declare war against terrorists than murderers? It will win you more votes :rolleyes:

    THe war on murderers! doesn't sound so great. Let's get those low-life scum of the earth terrorists.

    What ever happened to that Natalie Halloway we were so captivated about, or our boarders, or the dubai ports world taking over shipping ports (now china owns ports in mexico and we are building a superhighway strait to them woo hoo!) We seem to have ADD when it comes to this stuff. It's "old" news so we'd like to think it isn't important.
     
  7. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #7
    It's sensationalism. It's the same reason people fear their airplane crashing but will drive without giving the huge increase in danger a second thought.

    More people die in a half year of driving than die in a half century of flying. Meanwhile air crashes get front page news and weeks of coverage and a multiple-car fatal pileup on an interstate ends up in the traffic update.
     
  8. thedude110 macrumors 68020

    thedude110

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    #8
    It's not that your point is stastically wrong, yg17, it's that we find ourselves in a position where we have an enemy who's actively seeking to kill us. Terrorism (including the ways in which we have fostered terrorism by our own actions) can't be ignored.

    That said, I think it's disgusting the way we've ignored our domestic problems. NCLB is a joke, crime rates are on the rise, gang activity is on the rise and the minimum wage is stuck in a rut.

    A more concrete example: My uncle is a Vietnam vet and not well off financially. He has a lot of health problems, but no health insurance. He goes to the doctor for a physical, but the doctor won't see him unless he can provide $100 on the spot. Not having the $100, he had to leave the office -- not only without the exam he needed, but ashamed.

    Such that: Wake up, W, and let's look at some of the domestic problems that also threaten our social fabric.

    Outside of her family, no one cared about Natalee Holloway except FoxNews junkies who get themselves worked up about bourgeois white women in peril.

    As for our boarders, we'd save a lot by just serving them mush.
     
  9. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #9

    Ditto. My dad flew out of town yesterday morning. Even with Thursday's events, I was more worried about him getting into a car accident on the way to the airport than anything actually happening on the plane.
     
  10. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #10
    It's U.S. Foreign Policy

    Points well taken and made, including the OP's, seem to skirt around a source (if not the source) of reactionary but well organized and now highly sophisticated groups around the globe. At the core and beyond the "great satan" stigma and disposition of the radical islamic world toward the U.S. for her decadent, hedonistic life style and her imperialistic agenda to seduce the planet, there remains a constant mantra on the lips of most of the representative voices who sympathize with the Palestinian cause.

    U.S. Foreign Policy is going to have to be revisited, revamped and implemented to fit into the 21st century. I'm not necessarily calling for an either or, pro Israeli or pro Palestinian, position. But the collective conscience of an exploited people will ultimately find voice and expression and make itself heard.

    Admittedly, my world is more Latin America based, but failed and poor policy making have been at the basis of terrorist activity throughout Central and South America for decades. I'm also not saying policy alone has been the sole cause for the rise and thriving of anarchist groups bent on lawlessness and destruction, but a good portion of anti U.S. agenda whether organized or felt by the locals could be blamed on poor foreign policy.
     
  11. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #11
    And probably greed.
     
  12. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #12
    Ya, unfortunately that's meshed in to the warp and woof even more so than tongue in cheek.
     
  13. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #13

    I think his point is(not saying i agree i'm just say this is it) that what ever takes move lifes should be handled first... so if terrist got nuclear weapons, to use agianst us... they would start killing more people thne murders. Also that is one of the reason Terrism is being "handled" is a terrist group got a nuclear weapon they could much more then murders
     
  14. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #14
    <off topic>Please point out the anarchists bent on lawlessnss and destruction. </off topic>

    I think the OP has a very good point.
    the object of terrorism is twofold. Firstly to promote fear among a population, the second is to provoke retaliatory action that will bring more people to your cause. The World Trade Centre bombing was the most spectacularly successful act of terrorism in history. It spread fear among the US population out of all proportion to the actual threat (leaving aside the media spin on it), and it provoked a ridiculously overreaction that is building support for the causes that it attempts to suppress.

    also, I think the terror issue has been used by certain people to further their agenda, restricting freedom and concentrating power, destroying the very thing they claim to protect. Ask yourself, if the object of the security services is to prevent terror, why do they announce every "success" (and I have my doubts about the London raids). All that does is make people more uneasy. If the main aim is to make people feel secure, then a hidden battle should be going on that we never hear about rather than this routine elevation of security levels, and newspapers screaming headlines to the effect that "You're going to be killed by a muslim soon".
     
  15. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #15
    Pointing out the "bent" of the term anarchy is redundant. Why do you ask?
     
  16. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #16
    I'd like to know who you mean, too.
     
  17. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    Because misuse of the term anarchist just irritates me.

    While most terrorist organisations operate a decentralised cellular structure, that doesn't make them anarchist.
     
  18. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #18
    Terrorism is being used by our current Republican ran govt to reorganize govt and take away our freedoms and libertys while playing games. It can be clearly seen on the border which they have done is little to nothing. We could have a million terrorist walking in and they have choosen to ignore them but they sure like to beat their chests about terrorism and how great they are at fighting it and why we should be sending our children to die in Iraq when they were hiding under their desks during Nam. Spin & Marketing.
     
  19. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #19
    I used the term legitimately and knowingly. There are recognized, anarchist groups throughout Latin America, Europe, even NYC. FACA in Brazil, AUCA in Argentina, Congreso de Unificación Anarco-Comunista in Chile, JLB (Juventudes Libertarias de Bolivia. Though the Shining Path and FARC have been recognized as terrorist groups, they are not necessarily anarchist in that their Marxist or Maoist philosophies call for a new order and thus would be distinguished from the other groups.
     
  20. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #20
    Dog bites man, not a story, but when man bites dog... Same as with computer viruses, look at how everyone goes nuts when Macs get some proof of concept while a new Windows virus barely gets a blip unless it does a ton of damage. Even then. Terrorism is a great political tool to make you afraid as noted. Makes people more open to things they normally wouldn't. Fear is a great motivator, as is anger, and terrorism is much easier to use than the vague concept of murder or car accidents.

    Fortunately, it only works for so long before they get sick of being afraid.
     
  21. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #21
    :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
  22. XNine macrumors 68040

    XNine

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    #22
    Of course, "terror" is a point of view thing. What we deem as terrorism could mean an attempt at freedom or fighting for one's country to someone else.

    However, if we were TRULY combating terrorism, then we wouldn't even be thinking about Iraq right now. IF we were truly combating terrorism, our resources would have gone to far greater lengths finding one man with a cane in the Afghanistan mountains. I bet if we put the same amount of pressure there as we did Iraq, we would have found Osama Bin Laden in a sewage hole rather than Saddam.

    This thing with the extremist Muslims will never end. Not until we are globalized and reigned down upon with an iron fist a la V for Vendetta. And globalization is the last thing we need.
     
  23. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #23
    It isn't? Care to elaborate? For the record DHM used to be a Republican, and I believe he even voted for Bush. One of the main reasons we tolerate and even appreciate the rants. Of course they're using terrorism for political power. If you're trying to say they aren't, I don't know what to tell you.
     
  24. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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  25. MACDRIVE macrumors 68000

    MACDRIVE

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    #25
    This what I believe:

    I believe if the American President didn't have a personal financial gain from the high price of oil, if he would be willing to pull all of the US troops out of Iraq, if he didn't baby feed Israel, if he would make it a national priority to develope domestically produced Ethanol so we could pull completely out of the entire Middle East, then there would be no terrorism what-so-ever. None.
     

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