CHART: Fear Of Terrorism Makes People Irrational – Terrorism Fatalities vs. Firearm Homicides

Due to Homeland Security - photo by Thomas HawkAmerica is a country that prides itself on bravery and strength, but we have an irrational fear of terrorism in the post-9/11 years. You are more likely to die in a car accident, a fall, or even drown, than die in a terrorist incident. In some cases, many thousands of times more likely. But while we made no rash or illogical decisions regarding automobile deaths, we have done exactly that in response to terrorism. In addition to car accidents, falls and drownings, you are also more likely to be murdered by firearm than murdered by terrorist attack. And while car accidents, falls and drownings are accidents, murder by gun is no accident, and that makes it a good statistic to compare to terrorism.

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source: Global Terrorism Database
source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The above chart compares terrorism fatalities to firearm homicides in America in the decade starting with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. At first you might be thinking data is missing from this chart, but it’s all there. Click the “Show/Hide Table Data” button to see the raw numbers. I hope by starting this chart in 2001, the year with the most terrorism related fatalities ever in America, I’m able to convey how crazy we’ve become as a nation in trying to combat terrorism. While firearm homicides, at their staggering level, hold steady between 11,078 and 12,791, terrorism fatalities don’t even register on this chart except in 2001 (3004) and barely in 2009 (18).

Now let’s put the entire decade in a pie chart.

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Yes folks, all of the “upgrades” to our security apparatus including the Department of Homeland Security, illegal wiretapping, loss of privacy and individual liberty, and let’s not forget, two wars, is a response to that tiny sliver on the pie chart — mostly representing 9/11/2001. What have we done in response to all those firearm homicides? Nothing, zilch, nada. Or to put it another way — jack shit.

It’s your prerogative to argue that our response to 9/11 is why terrorism fatalities are so low in the following 9 years. But regardless of that argument, it is clear our response to terrorism is not proportional to that of firearm homicides, or any number of things that kill Americans at much higher rates.

photo by Thomas Hawk

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