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

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  • E.D. Morel
    replied
    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.

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  • Daemon of Decay
    replied
    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, 15:45.

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  • G David Bock
    replied
    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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  • Daemon of Decay
    replied
    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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  • Daemon of Decay
    replied
    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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  • Daemon of Decay
    replied
    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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  • G David Bock
    replied
    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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  • Gixxer86g
    replied
    Now, having said all that, terrorism is not the defining issue in this election. But it's top three for me.

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  • Gixxer86g
    replied
    Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
    I fail to see how. I'm using the same standard: the actual threat it poses to the life of the average American. It is using a common variable between all of these to look at their relative risk to the average American. By using that common variable we can then look at what is a greater threat to American lives: Cougars or tree branches, gas leaks or expired fish, terrorists or sharks.
    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.

    Risk is always

    relative. You cannot look at risk in isolation because that tells you nothing. You have to compare it to something. In this case all I have done is put terrorism in the context of other risks to your life, of which terrorism is.
    But you're comparing controllable and non controllable risk.

    So yes, I fail to see how the risk from terrorism cannot be compared to anything else when one is looking at common shared variable.
    It's the variable that's at issue.....

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  • Daemon of Decay
    replied
    Originally posted by Gixxer86g View Post
    Derek, every risk is different. Terrorists and teenage idiots are completely different.

    I'm sorry, my friend, but you're comparing things that have no relation......
    I fail to see how. I'm using the same standard: the actual threat it poses to the life of the average American. It is using a common variable between all of these to look at their relative risk to the average American. By using that common variable we can then look at what is a greater threat to American lives: Cougars or tree branches, gas leaks or expired fish, terrorists or sharks.

    Risk is always relative. You cannot look at risk in isolation because that tells you nothing. You have to compare it to something. In this case all I have done is put terrorism in the context of other risks to your life, of which terrorism is.

    So yes, I fail to see how the risk from terrorism cannot be compared to anything else when one is looking at common shared variable.

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  • Half Pint John
    replied
    Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
    There was also a very low chance of being killed by the Swiss on Dec. 6, 1941.

    http://aces.safarikovi.org/victories...rland-ww2.html

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  • Gixxer86g
    replied
    Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
    I'm talking from the view of victimhood. The odds of being a direct victim of terrorism in the United States was the "lethal lottery". The odds of being killed by terrorists are much smaller than so many other, more banal ways.

    I didn't expect that to be a difficult or controversial statement, honestly.




    But I'm looking at the risks as a whole, to the average American, to give applicable numbers to most of the population.

    Park rangers are more likely to be struck by lightning than the average population, for example, but they represent a minority of the wider population. The odds of being struck by lightning are still incredibly low to the average American.

    No matter how one tries to measure it, objectively the risk of a random American being killed by terrorists are incredibly low, especially relative to other threats.
    Derek, every risk is different. Terrorists and teenage idiots are completely different.

    I'm sorry, my friend, but you're comparing things that have no relation......

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  • G David Bock
    replied
    Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
    Funny how that works.
    History is just full of "laughs".

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  • Daemon of Decay
    replied
    Originally posted by G David Bock View Post
    Yet by Dec. 8,1941 the odds for the Swiss were unchanged, but for the Japanese had increased exponentially.
    Funny how that works.

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  • G David Bock
    replied
    Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
    There was also a very low chance of being killed by the Swiss on Dec. 6, 1941.
    Yet by Dec. 8,1941 the odds for the Swiss were unchanged, but for the Japanese had increased exponentially.

    Leave a comment:

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