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Refuse to be Terrified

Terrorism is not a leading cause of death. As Tierney notes in his column today (subscription required):

Outside of Afghanistan and Iraq,” [John Mueller, author of Overblown] says, “the number of people killed around the world since Sept. 11 by groups in sympathy with Al Qaeda is not that high. These are horrible and disgusting deaths, but they’re not a sign of a diabolically effective organization. The total is less than the number of Americans who drowned in bathtubs during this period.”

As it is, he figures, the odds of an American being killed by international terrorism are about one in 80,000. And even if there were attacks on the scale of Sept. 11 every three months for the next five years, the odds for any individual dying would be one in 5,000.

Get over the fear and refuse to be terrified and the terrorists have lost. For more comps, read on.


In 2001, terrorism in America killed about as many people as category E66 "Obesity" according to US mortality tables and thousands of people fewer each year since. Half as many as F10 "Mental and behavioral disorders due to use of alcohol (F10)". Seems like our dependence on foreign alcohol and chocolate is causing death. Jerry's kids with MS warrant one weekend a year and they die 3,000/year.

So now that it's been 5 years, terrorism has still only killed 3,000 in the US and we are down to 600/year over the past 5 years. Like Thrombosis (I74) which suggests letting people get out of their seats on airplanes. Terrorism kills about as many as "Exposure to excessive natural cold (X31)". How about a war on stranglers (X91) which kills 690 per year.

3,000/year out of 2,400,000 is one in 800/year. 600/year is one in 4,000/year.

A 3,000 person attack every three months forever would be 12,000 dead/year out of approximately 2.5 million dead per year or a one in 200 lifetime chance of dying from terrorism.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Sam published on September 9, 2006 10:15 AM.

So Much For That Pesky First Amendment was the previous entry in this blog.

Back From The Cape is the next entry in this blog.

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