Victims of Our Fear

Terrorism in the 21st century, has become a powerful word. We all have an image of terrorism, as an act with the intention to kill people or otherwise cause damage in a violent manner for a given ideology. We are more than cognizant of the effects of this violence on people. There is constant coverage of terrorist actions and it has become, since the bombing of the twin towers in 2001, an obsession of the media to fawn over every detail of terrorist attacks. The number of casualties, the motivation of attackers, the dramatic manhunt, the personalities of the attackers and the victims. Following an attack these details are quickly enough revealed. This constant bombardment of information and of even the tiniest details relating to an attack has come to be expected in daily media coverage. Soon after the initial drama has ended, often before the bodies are even cold, there are a horde of experts, pundits and politicians who arrive on screens around the world to speak in panicked tones about the effect of the attacks, and moreover about how deathly afraid we should all be of the dreaded terrorists. The question is does all this coverage and stipulation amount to a real threat, or only to the appearance of one? Let's examine some statistics. According to the national center for health statistics, the chances of an American dying in an attack by a foreign terrorist are approximately 1 in 45,000. Statistics are fairly similar elsewhere in the West. In other words, the chances of dying in that situation are extremely slim. The chances of being killed in a household accident are significantly higher than those of dying at the hand of terrorists. So, at least in theory, you should be more afraid of the chair you are sitting on falling apart then you should be of a terrorist attack. Fear of terror is not solely illogical, it is also dangerous.  

In order to understand the dangers of fear one must understand that the objective of terrorism in the west is not to inflict casualties on western nations in the attacks, but rather is, quite literally, to terrorize the populous. In short, the purpose of terror is to make us afraid. Therefore when we succumb to that fear which organisations such as ISIS would wish to instill upon us we have already lost. In inflicting terror on us, our enemies demonstrate that we are fragile and that even the slightest burst of wind can cause some of the world's most advanced societies to be prompted into reaction. This is because although causing fear is important it is the reactionary thinking that is promoted by this fear which serves the agendas of our enemies. Think about our reaction to terrorism, on a societal level. Instead of taking a stand against our enemies on an ideological basis we are often promoted into actions which cost more to us than the initial terrorism inflicted. For example the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, while a defensive action and a partial success was reactionary in its nature, and cost more American lives than the terrorist attack (9/11) which prompted its initiation.

If we take actions on the basis of yet smaller events, such as the London attack of this weekend, would this not be further detrimental to yet more people? Even assuming that the results of counter terrorism result in a net reduction of terrorist action in the future, which is arguable, would taking action be worth it? If the actions to reduce terrorism cost more lives than the terrorism ever would, is that worth the loss?

Some would argue that for ideological reasons  it would be, that not to react would make us look weak in the face of our enemies. I would argue the inverse of this is true. When we are prompted to action by forces so much inferior to our own, is this not in effect a recognition of the power of our enemies? Should we not instead of leaping at every annoyance show strength in the face of terror, and stand unflinching taking instead of a reactionary course of action one that is informed by pragmatism? This is not to say we must ignore terrorism, taking some steps to prevent it is necessary, but we must treat terrorist attacks as what they are, minor incidents causing some damage. They are by no means ,however an existential threat, and to pretend so is irresponsible.


  1. YESSSSS!!!!!! Preach, brotha. My thoughts exactly, this is awesome.

  2. Excellent. Very well written.

  3. The level of excellence of this article decimates parikh in every way

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  5. Excellent article ! Very well written and the substance reflects very clear thinking. Media coverage of any terrorist attack should be minimal .

  6. Yes, you are absolutely correct about how the statistic of actually being killed in a terrorist attack is extremely slime. In fact the probability is less than the probability of a shark attack much less to be striked by lighting. However, during one of the violent riot in India during their peaceful protest for independence during the 1900s , an police officer (only one) associated with the British empire was killed. Gandhi who was one of the most ardent people of attaining Indian independence was about to obtain his long term dream. He was on the brink of achieving this goal, nevertheless, he stopped this movement due to the police officer's death. He was barraged with questions why he stopped the source of hope and progress to independence from British rule. He replied because of the officer's death. "It's only ONE death", they cried. Gandhi's reply to their outcry is priceless "Tell that to the family of the officer." Likewise, I asked the same thing to the author, the death rate may be small, but a death is a death. I am not attempting to instill fear but trying to have everyone sympathetic to any deaths that are caused. The news only cover the terror of the terrorist attack and ignore often the causality of it for the most part. It is wrong to brainwash the public about the danger of terrorism but the causality is not something that should be easily ignored. I asked the author, Do YOU have the audacity to tell the family of a lost one from terrorism that it is ONLY ONE death??? All I am saying is to have some sympathy to the family of victims. Its wrong to ignore them just because they are ordinary civilians. How would you feel like if your immediate relatives such as parents or siblings who were victimized from such attack. Sympathy and Empathy for humanity is all that I am trying to say.

    1. While it is true that all deaths are important the objective of this article was to shed light on the fact that all deaths should be treated equally, is the life of someone who dies in a shark attack less valuable than the life of someone who dies in a terrorist attack? Because placing greater emphasis on the deaths of people who die in terrorist attacks not only leads to a devaluation of the lives of people who die by other methods as victims of terror are fawned over but also leads to more death. Moreover I believe you misunderstand the article, the point was not that the deaths of the people in terror attacks are not valuable but that use of their deaths for a political ends, as is always the case both is disrespectful to the dead and also lead to more violence. Whenever action it taken for a political cause as vengeance for terror it inevitably does not serve the victims of their families but a small group of interests and inevitably leads to the deaths of soldiers fighting distant war over terror. So the question I would ask is not if I can state that the deaths of victims of terror should be valued, as I never said they should not be, my question to you is whether you are wiling to tell the families of fallen soilders that their children's lives worthless?

    2. It appears that you have have deliberately avoided my questions. I ask you the same question. Please don't avoid it with rhetoric.

      First thing is first, I will answer you question. No the solider's lives are not worthless. If they die they die a solider's death brave, valiant and patriotic to their country. It is unfortunate that they died but they died for a caused rather than being victimized. They contributed their life to something that they believed in rather than being killed because of someone else's deeds.

      Secondly, I understood the article fine, thank you very much, which is why I am asking about the aspect of sympathy. You at first seemed to be brushing off the fact of causality as something insignificant due to the fact the statistics were so small. That is why I generalized to appeal to any death but particular to deaths from terrorist as this is the topic at hand.

      Once more, please answer the question rather than eluding from my question.

      Thx Mystery Figure

    3. All deaths are important and this article in no way minimizes the deaths of victims of terror, being perfectly honest with you I fail to grasp exactly what it is you disagree with about this article.

    4. Let us say that is true... than what part of answer the question do you not comprehend?

      In addition, you only admit the fact about deaths and causalities after my comment so I have no comment to your previous statements.

      Thx Mystery Figure 3.0 (Original Mystery Figure)

    5. Instead of looking at it as if the point of his article was comparing the value of the live's of the people who died from either a shark attack vs a terror attack, try and see what he was really saying. Their lives are important, no matter how they died. But that isn't the point. The title says it all, "Victims of Our Fear". He's addressing the fact that using someone's death as a political point shouldn't have to happen. The goal of the terrorists is to make us afraid, and by using someone's death as a warning you only help them achieve their goal. Nobody said that they would tell a victim's family that their death was only one death, but using their loss to allow their terrorists feel accomplished is worse. Whether or not the author has the audacity to tell a family their lost one's life was only one death does not matter. Your question is irrelevant.


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