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Old Aug 26, 11, 10:39 am   #1
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Schneier on Terrorist Attacks

As usual, he's the voice of reason.

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John Mueller and his students analyze the 33 cases of attempted terrorism in the U.S. since 9/11. So few of them are actually real, and so many of them were created or otherwise facilitated by law enforcement.

The death toll of all these is fourteen: thirteen at Ft. Hood and one in Little Rock. I think it's fair to add to this the 2002 incident at Los Angeles Airport where a lone gunman killed two people at the El Al ticket counter, so that's sixteen deaths in the U.S. to terrorism in the past ten years.

Given the credible estimate that we've spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security (this does not include our many foreign wars), that's $62.5 billion per life saved. Is there any other risk that we are even remotely as crazy about?
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archive...ism_in_th.html
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Old Aug 26, 11, 2:36 pm   #2
 
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And all that money spent did not help those 16 people.
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Old Jul 1, 12, 10:40 pm   #3
 
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other news

In other news, billions are spent on safety features of aircraft, yet not used.

Seriously, it's like saying door locks have no value because no one has broken into your home.
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Old Jul 1, 12, 11:31 pm   #4
 
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Originally Posted by ronin308 View Post
In other news, billions are spent on safety features of aircraft, yet not used.

Seriously, it's like saying door locks have no value because no one has broken into your home.
To an extent, but door locks serve a purpose. Lots of that anti-terrorism money ends up wasted on boondoggle projects that are doomed to failure (anyone remember the "virtual fence"?), the TSA--which, sorry, does as much to prevent terrorism as a red herring does to solve crimes, or it just disappears into a budgetary black hole.

I think the more appropriate metaphor in this situation would be to say that one has worn a bulletproof vest every day for the past ten years, and has never once been shot. Does that mean the vest has prevented anything, or does it maybe just mean that the few who've tried have had really, really bad aim?
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Old Jul 2, 12, 3:36 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by ronin308 View Post
Seriously, it's like saying door locks have no value because no one has broken into your home.
This probably is a good metaphor. Anyone who knows locks knows they only keep your friends out. Just like TSA.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 6:05 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronin308 View Post
In other news, billions are spent on safety features of aircraft, yet not used.

Seriously, it's like saying door locks have no value because no one has broken into your home.
There's a number that risk management people prefer not to talk about - there's a number with 7 figures that equals the value of a life. Any safety feature that saves enough lives (based on the value of a life) is justified. Those billions in safety features meet that test based on an analysis of the risks involved. Spending 1000 times that number for no discernible benefit is ridiculous. Especially when anyone spending 5 minutes on this board would see how much of that expenditure is a complete waste.

Last edited by 16A; Jul 2, 12 at 10:39 am. Reason: Ack - always proofread!
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Old Jul 2, 12, 6:25 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronin308 View Post
In other news, billions are spent on safety features of aircraft, yet not used.

Seriously, it's like saying door locks have no value because no one has broken into your home.
In addition to the other point upthread that are quite valid, I'd add that a major difference is that Boeing or Delta are companies going along with those safety requirements in their own self-interest.

If Boeing or Delta planes started falling out of the sky, there's an absolute alternative for the rest of us. DL and Boeing are trying to balance money spent on "unused" safety features with mitigating damage to their brands.

It isn't like we can say "too much terrorism here. I'm moving to Brazil." en masse.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 9:35 am   #8
 
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Quote:
The death toll of all these is fourteen: thirteen at Ft. Hood and one in Little Rock. I think it's fair to add to this the 2002 incident at Los Angeles Airport where a lone gunman killed two people at the El Al ticket counter, so that's sixteen deaths in the U.S. to terrorism in the past ten years.
Depending on one's definition of 'terrorism', I'm not sure these incidents qualify, being the acts of a lone wolf (as stated in the article) albeit a Muslim. If these are included then surely the Washington sniper (John Allen Mohammad) should be included upping the 'total' by at least 10.
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