Just Some Perspective

Andrew Shaver writing at The Monkey CageYou’re more likely to be fatally crushed by furniture than killed by a terrorist.

I am not saying ignore it.  I am saying have some perspective.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Terrorism
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    No Steven, perspective is not welcome in this discussion. Take it elsewhere please.

    sarcasm mixed with an equal amount of disgust

  2. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    We need a seven-day waiting period before you can buy an assault sofa. And who needs a fully automatic recliner, anyway?

  3. I don’t know that all of these efforts I see to point out to people the actual, very law, odds that they are in danger of being a victim of terrorism or even knowing someone who is compared to the riisk of other events is really going to accomplish anything.

    I am beginning to think that, on a psychological level, many people process news events about seemingly out of the blue events controlled by the conscious decisions of human beings, have more of an impact on people than natural disasters or something that is more common like an automobile accident. It seems to be innate to human nature and I’m not sure pushing statistics at people and telling them to calm down is going to change the way they react to events like Paris or news about threats of additional attacks.

  4. @Doug Mataconis: It will influence some, others not. It is ever so with arguments.

    But sure, as the piece notes, the nature of threats matters:

    For instance, individuals’ sense of control directly influences their feeling about whether they are susceptible to a given risk. Thus, for instance, although driving is more likely to result in deadly accidents than flying, individuals tend to feel that the latter is riskier than the former. Flying involves giving up control to the pilot. The resulting sense of vulnerability increases the feeling of risk, inflating it far beyond the actual underlying risks.

  5. Ultimately it would just be nice if we could make policy with a nod to facts and not sheer terror.

  6. CSK says:

    As soon as I saw this, I was reminded of the infamous 1986 Newsweek article claiming that if a woman was unmarried by age 40 (or 35, according to other sources), she was more likely to die in a terrorist attack than ever to find a husband.

  7. reid says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Not only that, but big, heavy planes in the air? How is that even possible? They should be falling out of the skies left and right!

  8. ernieyeball says:

    Thus, for instance, although driving is more likely to result in deadly accidents than flying, individuals tend to feel that the latter is riskier than the former.

    I like to fly. I’ve logged trips on the silver bird from the mid west to the west coast and return several times.
    Not lately though. I will not subject myself to so called “Security Checks” that do absolutly nothing to prevent “terrorist attacks”.
    Besides, I like to drive and have the time to do it. Not to mention I can carry anything I want in my car.

  9. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You can have my fully automatic recliner when you pry it from my cold, dead butt!

  10. Keith Humphreys says:

    Typical armchair analysis. I wouldn’t couch it in these reassuring terms; remember the Ottomans conquered a whole empire. On the hand, so-fa, so-good I guess.

  11. Franklin says:

    If I may respectfully suggest one thing, Dr. Taylor: could you please use more descriptive subject lines?

  12. @Franklin: I will see what I can do.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    This is a stupid argument. Th American people don’t buy it, neither do I.

    See, accidents don’t force us to change the way we live our lives – attacks do. In the same year that Pearl Harbor killed 2500 people, I guarantee you more people died in car accidents.

    So what? So, hey, let’s ignore the Japanese, that’ll show them we’re not impressed with their bombs? If we attack, we’re just giving them what they want?

    Maybe you could make a similar argument to Black Lives Matter. You know, Hey, you’re a lot more likely to die of cholesterol than cop shootings. Or you could run around your campus pointing out to women students that it’s just a few rapes,and they’re in far more danger from second-hand smoke.

  14. @michael reynolds: And yet a little perspective wouldn’t hurt when we contemplate policy pathways that could results in trillions spent and thousands of lives lost.

    Why that is a position to be dismissed is beyond me.

    See, accidents don’t force us to change the way we live our lives – attacks do.

    Sure they do: seat belts, for example (the issue becomes what the appropriate responses are).

  15. @michael reynolds: The problem with your current stance on this is that you seem to think that there is a clear and achievable policy that would solve this problem once and for all. The WWII analogy is incorrect. Unfortunately it is not so simple as defeating a country in a direct military campaign (not that winning WWII was simple).

    To some degree I understand where you are coming from (at least to a degree): I thought that a war paradigm was appropriate after 9/11 (but I was wrong and should have known it at the time, but ah well).

  16. mantis says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Ultimately it would just be nice if we could make policy with a nod to facts and not sheer terror.

    If we aren’t motivated by terror then the terrorists win.

    Wait…

  17. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: You wanna see people really, really lose their… stuff?

    Point out that far, far more black men are killed by other black men than by cops. Ask if black lives matter only when they’re taken by white people.

    You’ll learn a whole bunch of new synonyms for “racist” in very, very short order.

  18. t says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: can we do a “Don’t recline on me” flag with a coiled up spring?

  19. Jenos Idanian says:

    @t: Good lord, I think I created a monster…

    …and I’m proud.

  20. An Interested Party says:

    To some degree I understand where you are coming from (at least to a degree): I thought that a war paradigm was appropriate after 9/11 (but I was wrong and should have known it at the time, but ah well).

    This is the most frustrating thing about all of this…we have seen this movie before and it obviously didn’t work then (indeed, those previous actions created the problem that exists now) so why do it again…

  21. @An Interested Party: Indeed. A key example of this is that we have contemporary reminders that controlling the outcomes in these situations is not as easy as many think.

  22. Gustopher says:

    Fine, fine, lets have air strikes against IKEA.

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: Some would go for that just for the difficulty in getting their so-called “easy assembly” stuff together….