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Is terrorism going to be the defining issue of the next election?

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  • #61
    Now, having said all that, terrorism is not the defining issue in this election. But it's top three for me.
    ALL LIVES SPLATTER!

    BLACK JEEPS MATTER!

    BLACK MOTORCYCLES MATTER!

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Gixxer86g View Post
      How can we use the same standard for these completely different forms of risk?

      For instance, I can control the risk I face when driving, or motorcycling. With terrorism, I'm forced to rely on others to control the risk.



      But you're comparing controllable and non controllable risk.



      It's the variable that's at issue.....
      Yeah!
      Using DoD's approach something like Sept. 11,2001 attack would never happen, statistically unlikely, bordering upon impossible.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by Gixxer86g View Post
        How can we use the same standard for these completely different forms of risk?

        For instance, I can control the risk I face when driving, or motorcycling. With terrorism, I'm forced to rely on others to control the risk.
        Because we're looking at a general population, not a specific individual.

        But you're comparing controllable and non controllable risk.
        The perception of control is irrelevant because you're looking at the individual variables while I'm looking at a larger, generalized population, which accounts for those.

        Consider something like heart disease.

        Assume for a moment that the chance of an American dying from a heart attack or heart disease was 1 in 10,000 annually. Now, that is an average for all Americans, generalized and extrapolated out.

        Now you as a full individual may differ wildly from this. You may be one of the heart-healthiest people in the states, regularly working out, good genes, get check-ups frequently, etc. So your chance of having a heart attack is much lower than that figure.

        But there are other Americans out there, and that number has to account for you as much as them. It has to include the people who don't "take control" over those variables about their heart healthy, who don't exercise, eat healthy, go to the doctors, and also includes variables where there is no control, such as genetics.

        So while you as the specific individual may have a very different chance of being a victim of terrorism/sharks/muggings/heart-attacks/etc. than the wider population, the "random American" in question (which could include you) doesn't because he is a composite of all those individual variables and has to take them into account.

        So to go back to driving, while you may take precautions, others don't. Hence the average applies to American drivers as a whole, not to every individual in the study.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by G David Bock View Post
          Yeah!
          Using DoD's approach something like Sept. 11,2001 attack would never happen, statistically unlikely, bordering upon impossible.
          Statistics can be hard to decipher at first, but if you work at it they begin to make sense.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Gixxer86g View Post
            Now, having said all that, terrorism is not the defining issue in this election. But it's top three for me.
            The liberal angle will be gun control, since that's how they frame the Florida shooting. But terrorism certainly is playing a role on both sides.

            One thing to look out for is if there is another mass shooting, Islamic or not. Another one in the run up to the election could swing a lot of voters through fear and emotional backlash.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
              Statistics can be hard to decipher at first, but if you work at it they begin to make sense.
              Statistical analysis prior to 9/11/2001 would shown such an event in size and scope as to be so far off the charts as to be near "impossible". Fifteen years later the attack is diluted by nothing since equaling that scale/size so working the numbers the way you suggest, anything in the future is more "small potatoes". Until there is another attack as large or larger.

              I'm not worried about bears or cougars getting their hands on a nuclear weapon and using same against a target in America, but Islamic Jihad has that potential, despite what statistics one use and how they present them.

              Statistics aren't always that hard to decipher, the issue is usually which statistics are used, or not, and then how applied/formatted.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by G David Bock View Post
                Statistical analysis prior to 9/11/2001 would shown such an event in size and scope as to be so far off the charts as to be near "impossible". Fifteen years later the attack is diluted by nothing since equaling that scale/size so working the numbers the way you suggest, anything in the future is more "small potatoes". Until there is another attack as large or larger.
                Actually it wouldn't, if one had access to all the data available and was asking the right questions or framing it properly.

                What was the odds of a terrorist attack in the United States in the near future in September, 2001, considering the elevated traffic and that information passing by the intelligence analysts' desks? Elevated far above the normal, very low baseline. That is the context for that specific time when you start narrowing the focus down to a small window.

                And even in the general sense, one must also include changes to the system in the aftermath of 9/11, because these events don't happen in vacuums. The US's security system against terrorist attacks was revolutionized and updated after 9/11.

                Really, the whole point of putting the risk from terrorism into its proper context. Even with an event as big, well-planned and destructive as 9/11, the actual risk to the lives of the average American is still statistically minuscule.

                That risk is in general. If one want to narrow the focus to a specific area, or a specific window, then that most certainly does alter the statistics. After all, the odds of being a victim of terrorism in Kansas is lower than in New York, wouldn't you say?

                I'm not worried about bears or cougars getting their hands on a nuclear weapon and using same against a target in America, but Islamic Jihad has that potential, despite what statistics one use and how they present them.
                Which is part of what has been addressed before: the fear about Islamic terrorism is much stronger than their demonstrated threat based around the data available. Which is their goal, incidentally.

                Raising concerns about a hypothetical is not invalid (one does not slavishly believe there is no risk just because something hasn't happened yet) but must also be taken into context as well, and quantified if possible.

                Which hasn't been done yet by anyone trying to claim that Islamic terrorists represent anything more than a minuscule threat to the life of the average American.

                Statistics aren't always that hard to decipher, the issue is usually which statistics are used, or not, and then how applied/formatted.
                Exactly. Which is why I've been pointing out from the beginning that the "risk" from terrorism is based around the chances of an average American being a victim of it according to the data available. And that chance is very small. Nothing more.

                Bad statistics or fears based off of bad statistics can do a lot of harm. Remember the Satanist scare of the 1980s, when parents around the nation were scared about potentially thousands of Satan-worshiping teachers and drifters preying upon students?

                Or worse, it can lead to people shuffling resources away from more effective courses of action to counter hypothetical scenarios. We train our soldiers in how to handle chemical attacks because it is a legitimate risk, however small. We don't, however, have them operate day in and day out in gas masks in the off-chance that it happens either - even though there is still a chance.

                Risks have to be contextualized.
                Last edited by Daemon of Decay; 05 Jul 16, 16:45.

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                • #68
                  Which is part of what has been addressed before: the fear about Islamic terrorism is much stronger than their demonstrated threat based around the data available. Which is their goal, incidentally.
                  Exactly! If you want to defeat Islamic Terrorism the first step is to stop appearing so afraid of it. That fear is their lifeblood. A clam and rational response, without the Old Testament style rhetoric and xenophobia, would do them serious harm.
                  "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their
                  validity." - Abraham Lincoln.
                  "Nothing's going to change while one side it lying about the cause and the other is lying about the solution" - Me

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