“More likely to be hit by lightning…”

Then-President Obama and his former government officials say that more people die in bathtubs than terror attacks.  The obvious question is: so what?

As James E. Mitchell puts it, “Do bathtubs get up every morning to figure out a way to kill us?“. This thinking short-term, whereas our enemies thinking is long term. An inanimate object is inanimate. It does not house a conscience. It does not wish to impose ideology by violent physical force. As Mr Mitchell also puts it:

[Terrorists are thinking about] a better way to disseminate a poison, to set off a radiological bomb, to get killers into our country. And if we compare the conscious effort to do that with a bathtub [inanimate object] then we’re blinding ourselves…

– James E. Mitchell on The Mark Steyn Show.

Yes, you are more likely to be hit by lightning, killed by a toddler with a firearm, choke to death or drown in a bathtub than be killed by terrorism. This is quantitatively true. Statistically, you are more likely to die by those “mundane things” than terrorism. However, the isolated numbers of deaths does not show us the relevancies of terrorism such as the ripple effects it has on society, how it has grown, how it is perpetuated by human-beings – agents of their own consciousness, et cetera.

The misrepresentation of the terrorist threat is clear. What is attempted by some of the former sources is a minimization of terrorism. The focus created is a minimal one, a myopic one, that looks at naked numbers. The competition between ‘likely ways to die,’ for the average human-being or American citizen, to ‘death by terrorism.’ This has not been disputed because it is a truism: yes, you are more likely to die by something else which is just as uncommon. Duh!

But what is your point?

Do we:

  • Stop fighting terrorism?
  • Ignore it and continue with our lives?
  • Defund our intelligence and counter-terrorism organisations?
  • Should we fight a war on lightning strikes, curtains and outside pools instead?

The obvious answer to all these questions is no. Of course we don’t. Why? Because terrorism is an obvious threat. This is discomforting for most readers, I know. But the truth is the truth. Terrorism is a threat. Sometimes it is an existential threat in countries and communities that are ill-prepared. Terrorists voluntarily try to kill us. We have to stop them and we have to minimize the potential of such people mobilizing in the future.

 

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