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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fear death from falling tree limbs, not terrorists

Polls find that 80 percent of Americans expect another major terrorist attack in the near future. Fifty-one percent fear that they or one of their family members will be the victim of such an attack. 
Terrorism experts — and their eager amplifiers in the media — are quick to note any whiff of links to Islamist jihadists or cyberterrorists. .... Indeed, when the nation’s top intelligence officers presented their annual worldwide threat assessment to Congress earlier this month... they catalogued threats from North Korea, cyberterrorists, and Al Qaeda, and predicted an ISIS-sponsored terrorist attack in the US in 2016 — but they said nothing about the threat of falling objects — despite the fact that they kill nearly 700 people in the United States every year.
As sane adults think about risks to themselves and their families, how should they compare the threat of killer tree limbs and Islamist terrorists? How much more likely is an American to be killed in the year ahead by terrorists than by falling objects?
On average, 4 people in the United States have been killed by jihadi terrorist attacks each year over the past decade; 688 by falling objects....
...Your chance of being killed by lightning is eight times that of dying from a jihadi terrorist attack; of being murdered with a firearm, 2,931 times greater. You are even slightly more likely to be killed by far-right-wing, homegrown terrorists in the United States than by jihadis....
...terror-mongering that elevates foreign jihadists to levels where a majority of Americans fear for their families’ lives is no more reasonable than fears of witches that led our ancestors in 17th-century Salem to acts we now find insane.