Falkving.net, 16 November 2012
Every year, on average, 40 Europeans die in terrorist attacks. When you compare the policies and billions plown down into this number, you quickly discover that we should not be spending billions to fight terrorism, but to fight bathtubs. Over five times as many people drown in bathtubs every year.
I’m a very strong proponent of evidence-based policymaking and putting quality requirements on the legislative process, and therefore, I require hard data to justify decisions and policy. When researching this topic, the strangest thing about the number of fatalities from terrorism wasn’t the number itself, but how hard it was to find. It seemed to never have been published anywhere by any single European bureaucracy. It seemed that policymakers weren’t interested in quantifying the threat.
You can find lots of data on terror in Europe (causes, groups, police forces, etc) when searching for it. You just can’t find what danger it actually poses.
So I needed to do the basic research myself, and tallied all terrorist attacks in Europe over the years 2000-2009 from the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents. 403 people died in Europe over a decade from terrorism, almost half of which in Madrid in 2004, and an additional 50-ish in London in 2005. This gives us an average of 40.3 people per year.
This number needs to be put in perspective, to understand if 40 people per year is a lot or a little. Apparently, it must be a terrible lot, since so many repressive policies are justified by this number, right? So next, we go to the European Detailed Mortality Database to compare this number to other causes of death in Europe.
To our surprise, we find that drowning in bathtubs kills over five times as many people as terrorism – 223 per year! We need to pull all the taxpayer billions from fighting terrorism immediately and put them to work against bathtubs. They are more than five times as dangerous as terrorism!
Even more, over six times as many die from falling off chairs – 254 people per year. We should be spending billions fighting chairs!
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The key point of this article is this:
The hard numbers on terrorism invalidate the current policies mercilessly.
Phi Beta Iota: When government lacks both intelligence (decision support) and integrity (holistic purpose), the public interest is not served and the public is betrayed — the government is lacking in authenticity, efficacy, and therefore legitimacy.