I’ve written before about the (un)likelihood of dying at the hands of a foreign terrorist here on American soil. But for kicks, let’s drive the point home a little more. As Vox reports,
To put [the Cato Institute’s numbers] in perspective, I’ve produced the following chart, which compares the average annual likelihood of American pedestrians being hit by a railway vehicle, dying due to their own clothes melting or lighting on fire, and being killed in a terrorist attack perpetrated by an immigrant. It’s quite revealing:
Even better, you have a higher chance of winning the lottery or being struck by lightning than being killed by a refugee in a terrorist attack:
Here’s hoping we can all get a grip.1
3 thoughts on “Still Think There’s a Threat?: Immigrant-Linked Terrorism”
We reduce our odds of being hit by lightning by not going on hilltops in storms. We reduce our odds of being immolated by our clothing by teaching children to stop, drop, and roll. We reduce our odds of being hit by trains by not playing on train tracks.
How do we reduce our odds of being killed by terrorists?
We already have a pretty thorough vetting system: http://www.vox.com/first-person/2017/2/2/14459006/trump-executive-order-refugees-vetting
But as the Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh notes, “The economic cost of a temporary ban, or even a permanent one, is small because so few green cards and nonimmigrant visas are issued to folks from those seven countries. However, the danger of terrorism on U.S. soil committed by citizens of those countries has also been very low historically with only 17 convictions from 1975 through 2015 and zero Americans killed in domestic attacks. Future terrorists could come from different countries than terrorists did in the past but, based on current evidence, this ban is still a net loss because it will likely stop few terrorists, prevent zero deaths, and slightly reduce immigration and tourism. All minor economic pain, no gain.”
But I suppose we could start banning hilltops to reduce lightning strikes. While we’re at it, let’s make the crossing of state lines much harder in order to restrict the movements of criminals and domestic terrorists. We could also start deporting poor people (especially poor whites and blacks) since they have much higher rates of violence.
What do we do to reduce the threat of being killed by a terrorist posing as a refugee, you ask? We spend tens of millions of dollars with local, state, national, and international background checks, collaborations, and vetting. We also spend hundreds of millions with counter-terrorism intelligence gathering and alliances with other countries (most of whom we have unnecessarily insulted by telling them their Faith makes them a terrorist or, at least, very suspect). All of this and much more for a virtually non-existent threat.
Plus, since you brought it up: our efforts to avoid hill climbing during thunderstorms to protect ourselves against lightening strikes and/or have our kids wear flame retardant pajamas most likely reduce the chances of these already extremely rare causes of death. BUT, not climbing a hill during thunderstorms doesn’t INCREASE our chances of being hit by lightening. That is not the case with the Trump ban. Recklessly straining or outright cutting critical partnerships with Islamic nations DOES increase the chances of terrorist attacks. Yemen, for example, is most likely going to prohibit our military use of their airports, runways, etc. to deploy anti-terrorist drones and fighter planes. Given what our President has told the world about what the US government thinks of their majority Faith, can you blame them? ISIS, which almost all experts believe has been weakening significantly over the last year is “on the ropes.” But, Trump’s executive order has so inflamed the world’s second largest religion with an estimated billion members, we have played right into ISIS hands with their primary argument that the U.S. is anti-Muslim and, thus, Islamic extremists are much, much more likely to fund, help recruit, aid and abet in a thousand different ways to ISIS or any other Jihadist terrorist group.
Apart from the major constitutional and humanitarian problems with the executive order, perhaps the most worrisome is that it backfires. It is a gift to a currently reeling ISIS. It is also a strong message to any American citizen Jihadist extremists who may be on the fence when it comes to joining terrorism. The executive order tells them that America does not want them here, that because one of their FAITH (that which is defining to most religious people), we deem them a huge danger! Simply because they are Muslims and/or have attachments to a country of Muslims is more than enough. Apparently, we don’t need any actual evidence of danger, because, doesn’t everyone know all one billion Muslims think alike want to do American and the entire Western World harm. When we assure our kid’s clothing is flame retardant, that doesn’t pick a fight with the manufacturers of non-flame retardant children’s clothing manufacturers. This Trump ban not only tries to address a problem that doesn’t presently exist (according to the statistics of this article), it creates a new danger needlessly.
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