Why are you worried about terrorism exactly?

Dec 17, 2015 | Posted by Scott Hughes, author of Achieve Your Dreams | Post a Comment

Here is an interesting question from The Fifth Column:

Since the September 11th attacks, there have been a few Islamist terrorist attacks inside the United States. In total they killed 38 people over 14 years. More veterans will kill themselves today and tomorrow than US citizens were killed in 14 years by Islamist terrorist organizations inside the US. About three times as many people will die in car accidents today. Four times as many people are killed by autoerotic asphyxiation each year. US police killed 161 unarmed people in the first nine months of 2015.

Why are you worried about terrorism exactly?

What do you think?

One of my favorite books ever helps explain why we have such strong emotional gut reactions of fear to possibilities like terrorism and non-terrorist-caused airplane crashes–despite driving to the airport being so many times more dangerous than flying in an airplane. That book is Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.

The book is not about the particular issue of terrorism and is not a political book at all. The book addresses in large part the science of human imagination and common psychological mistakes, namely as they relate to the personal pursuit of happiness. It’s like the science of optical illusions, but not just the optical kind. I highly recommend the book.

I’m also a huge fan of behavioral economist Dan Ariely’s vast work in studying the many universal and predictable irrationalities in human behavior.

What do you think? Do you think fear-mongering politicians use platitudes about the threat of terrorism to excuse their inaction on other statistically more lethal problems and to distract us from the politicians’ real work to accommodate wealthy special interests? Even on terrorism, do you think the politicians play the irrationality of emotional fear with mere platitudes for their own more nefarious purposes, or do you think the politicians actually implement the best policies to protect us from terrorism? Please answer with a comment now.

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About Scott Hughes

I am the author of Achieve Your Dreams. I also published the book Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self-Destruction. I have two kids who I love so much. I just want to be a good role model for them. I hope what I do here makes them proud of me. Please let me know you think about the post by leaving a comment below!

3 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Banana
    December 17th, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    I’ve been asking this question for years!!!

    Being exposed to such issues that induce fear seriously stress me out and I tend to avoid them… But I certainly think that it’s all a distraction to keep the masses focused on one (not so important) issues while the power-hungry and wealthy are doing some behind the scenes dirty work… 🙁

  2. Banana
    December 17th, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    *other … Not one. I’m an idiot.

  3. Horizontalhold
    December 18th, 2015 at 12:00 am #

    The question is directed toward my personal fear rather than the population’s concept of terror. From my perspective, I fear a terrorist attack that cripples us so bad that we react out of instinct rather than rational thought. Our power and communication grids are sitting ducks. Take those away and you can assume chaos will generate an inclination to strike back….if we know who did it. I suspect that if we don’t, we’ll do it anyway….on a best guess basis. This would very likely lead to WW 3 and the world reentering the dark ages.

    As for the politicians: they understand demagoguery. They understand that truth is unpalatable and that plausible lies seem acceptable in this politically correct environment. The intelligent voter can read between the lines but to win, the candidate has to appeal to a much larger segment…. the mob. For that, gross imagery and sensationalism are the order of the day. In the booth, we push the button….and hope it was an act.

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