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Garland Robinette

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Garland Robinette: Terror - is more security the real danger?

garland@wwl.com - 4.16.13

You gotta help me here.  I don’t understand.  Terrorists writing in their online magazine Inspire, claim they will force America into bankruptcy by detonating bombs that costs them hundreds of dollars, but costs us billions of dollars via continual increases in security.  Terrorists call it "Death by a Thousand Cuts." (Foreign Policy magazine, 11-23-10, David Gartenstein-Ross.)

One of the terrorist bombs that we caught and defused on a UPS jet allegedly costs $4,200.00 for them to make and deliver.  This initiated our first purchase of hundreds of body scanners and additional national security carrying a price tag of billions of dollars.  Al Qaeda points to the bankruptcy of the Soviet Union because of their war in Afghanistan as evidence that they can do the same to America.

This is what I don’t understand.  Why do we keep adding anymore security?  Why don’t we eliminate the security we can’t afford… the security costs that are hurting all American industries?  It’s called the “Friction Economy.” (The Friction Economy American business just got the bill for the terrorist attacks) and even TEN YEARS AGO, it cost us a minimum of $151 billion dollars a year!  How much do you think it is today?

How would we not add security?  How would we eliminate security?  Simple, we use math rather than emotion. (The Odds of Airborne Terror-Nate Silver.)

The odds of being on a plane which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 for over ten years.  By contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000!
So what are the chances of being hit by a bomb at a marathon, a Super Bowl, or a Mardi Gras?  Infinitesimal.  So, why don’t we just go about our business and expand the economy with the money we would spend on security and not make the terrorists predictions (U.S. bankruptcy) come true?

I still don’t know, but I do have a suspicion...fear.  Fear sometimes causes the human animal to do dangerous things, in order to avoid danger.

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People : David Gartenstein-Ross

04/16/2013 5:46PM
Garland Robinette: Terror - is more security the real danger?
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04/29/2013 6:52PM
Cause and effect...
If we eliminate security, we will inspire an unknowable number of terrorists, foreign and domestic simply by reducing the risk of arrest and punishment.
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