TCS Daily – Risk-Terrorism Analysis

My latest for TCS Daily, “Risk-Terrorism Analysis,” has posted. It’s a response to a recent piece by Reason science correspondent Ron Bailey and a general line of reasoning that contends we are overreacting to terrorism given the statistical odds of dying in an attack.

Unlike being struck by lightning or a meteor, terrorism and other murders are variable human actions, not random events. Taking reasonable proactive measures such as training and deploying police officers, locking one’s doors, and making prudent choices about the situations one places oneself in markedly lower the odds of bad things happening. Even though few planes are hijacked, it probably still makes sense to put secure doors on cockpits and ensure that passengers do not bring dynamite on board. Not only does doing these things make specific plane trips somewhat safer but doing so systematically makes hijacking less attractive as a terrorist endeavor.

Much more at the link.

FILED UNDER: Published Elsewhere, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Hal says:

    From a public policy standpoint, however, I’m not sure what to make of Bailey’s analysis.

    Well, you seem to be missing all the bed wetting going on then. And you seem to have missed the fact that we went to war with Iraq over much the same bed wetting. And lord knows there was enough bed wetting and screaming about those who’s bed was not wet over this last bit in London.

    BTW, I’m staying in London and just flew into the UK this morning, so I’m well aware of how wet the bed is and how ludicrous it all is.

    Still, you should read this if you haven’t. I found it quite instructive as to the relative incontinence. And if you don’t understand how much political hay has been generated from the fear this plot has caused, then perhaps you’re not looking beyond your blinders…

    It’s not just policy. It’s politics.

    Hell, Lieberman used the blasted plot as a slam against Lamont. Cheney used it to tar all democrats… It’s not just about whether we have appropriate doors on cockpits…

  2. I guess all those people who own buildings that put up lightening rods are just buying into the political hype and demonizing of lightening.