Six Reasons Not To Panic About Terrorism

What is the long-term perspective of present-day, often suicidal terrorism?

It’s that there isn’t much to fear about, because terrorism is peculiarly idiotic and bound to destroy itself (unless we do anything egregiously wrong)

  1. For the law of diminishing returns, either attacks get bigger and bigger, or the targeted population will choose habituation rather than increased fear. It’s like opening the proverbial bonfire with the stakes too high, and having to destroy one’s forest simply to keep up
  2. With millions of potential victims, some of them will surely come up one day with novel solutions to prevent the killings, making further attacks quite hard to organize: think the Israeli wall, think the changed tactics of the US Navy after the first round of Japanese Kamikaze pilots
  3. Just like then, “the best and the brightest” in the terror organization are bound to blow themselves up. They can be substituted, but it does take around two decades to make another terrorist. In the meanwhile, ranks will be increasingly more replete of coward weasels that couldn’t stomach the suicide they themselves require of others
  4. For the same reason, terrorists will become stupider and stupider, lone losers who will discredit the terror organization by their very existence
  5. Those people want to die whilst the rest of the world wants to live. Guess who’ll be sticking around the longest? On average, both aspirations are bound to be fulfilled.
  6. In the fight against relatively well-organized societies, the only way to victoryfor the terrorists is to get hold of weapons of mass destruction – otherwise the chances of any one person becoming a victim will remain vanishingly small. And what will happen of WMDs in the hands of a suicidal terror organization populated by coward weasels and lone losers? Boom…and there go the terrorists

The only rational response to terrorism is to get on with one’s life.

(a version of the above appeared in this blog in 2006)