Fearmongering again

I had the questionable pleasure to notice the usual suspects crawling out of their hideouts in the wake of the extremism-linked murders in Paris.

One so-called 'terrorism expert' (not linkworthy) claims that we now need to expect everything, and that this so-called terrorism was of an entirely new kind.

He and his ilk are fearmongering. He claims there's an effectively unlimited, new threat - and he is wrong on both accounts. These kinds of crimes have been committed in all of documented history. There's nothing new.
The threat is furthermore negligible and shouldn't even be worth a minute in evening TV news because it's so utterly irrelevant.

Here's how irrelevant the "threat" is:

I looked up the causes of death in France on the OECD website. The statistic for 2011* is this: 679.3 people died of all causes of death per 100,000 population in the year 2011. The causes were

213.1 neoplasms [cancer]
166.4 diseases of the circulatory system [heart]
55.8 symptoms, signs, ill-defined causes
51.4 external causes of mortality [accident, violence]
40.9 diseases of the respiratory system [lung including asthma]
39.9 diseases of the nervous system
29.2 diseases of the digestive system
23.1 mental and behavioural disorders
22.8 endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases
14.3 certain infections and parasitic diseases
9.7 diseases of the genitourinary system
4.5 diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
2.7 diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs
2.2 congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities
2.1 certain conditions originating in the perinatal period
1.2 diseases of the skin and subcutaneous system

"51.4 external causes of mortality" in detail:
32.8 accidents
15.8 intentional self-harm
0.6 assault

Well, how much would 12 deaths change this picture? 12 deaths among 66.6 million people is about 0.018 per 100,000. That's a rounding error in the smallest subcategory listed above, "assault".

Only complete idiots** would stick to the notion that we should be concerned of terrorists in light of other causes of mortality being more severe by four orders of magnitude!

The terrorism fearmongers are fearful, insecure pussies.** Cowards and loudmouths.** Irrational idiots or antisocials.** They poison** our societies and strive to push us towards wasting attention span and resources on irrelevant and largely imaginary problems.

Finally, such fearmongers are the real terrorists**; THEY terrorise the population. I'm fine with a GWOT once the people recognise these real terrorists. Kick them off the airwaves, off the newspapers and put those fearmongers to the other idiots, where they belong: Right next to electrosmog hysterics, chemtrail hysterics, anti-vaccination activists and others who want to spread fear and misdirect our efforts.

related: 2014-07

*: 2011 is apparently the latest year with available data on the website.
**: It cannot be offensive or otherwise inappropriate language if it's the truth.


  1. 2 errorists vs a World Power

    I join your views on this topic.
    It seems that the fearmongers in this case, come from the Higher State Institutions (typical political games and tricks) and the media. They try to elevate the act of those criminals/errorists to the level of a ‘real declaration of war against France’. (France and Germany, among others, know what ‘real’ declarations of war mean, and this is not even comparable). But the media are effectively relaying such a sentiment.

    Some people find a cynical interest to exaggerate this crime and this exaggeration seem to show that fearmongers are interested in destabilizing France (up to civil unrest?), and not to care about the real everyday issues.

    It would be a first in military history (if we want to use the political and media rhetoric) that: two (2) criminals, with their specific social and psychological backgrounds ‘declare a war’ and destabilize a country of 66.6 millions, being the 6th military power and the 6th richest country in the World. It is almost becoming ridiculous.

    Can we expect new ‘anti-terrorist / more freedom restricting’ laws (e.g. Australia), a change in International policy, more interventionism? This crime could give a good pretext for anything. But I believe France and its friends and partners have better thinkers than that.

    There have been 12 dead and, one could guess, 5 millions wounded (French Muslims?).

    As you wrote: ‘The threat is furthermore negligible and shouldn't even be worth a minute in evening TV news because it's so utterly irrelevant.’
    But I understand and share the pain of the families of the victims.

  2. I disagree completely, both with the post, and the comment above. Comparing deaths by natural causes (cancer, heart disease, etc.) to deaths by enemy action is absurd.
    This is like arguing that worrying about pedophiles is silly because way more children die of heart defects than by pedophile murderers.

    Furthermore, it is precisely the politicians who are telling the public that there is no major problem, apart from a few random fringe crazies - as if ideology has nothing to do with it.

    You are partly right that this is nothing new. Islam has been at war with the civilized world for 1400 years. Earlier it was by Mongol hordes and then by Ottoman slavers. Don;t forget the millions of Christians (mostly, but not entirely, white) who were enslaved and brutalized by Ottoman Muslims.

    If you think the end goal of Islam is different this time, you are sorely mistaken.

    1. To compare both makes sense for at least two powerful reasons:
      1) Individual perspective
      To know the relative probability means to know that the problem to oneself and the nation is negligible. One may strive to reduce one's risks of life , and knowing these statistics means one better begins doing so in regard to the top killers.

      2) Policy perspective
      Policy is in large part allocation of resources. I wrote long ago about the marginal rate and how thinking in marginal utility helps to allocate resources efficiently. The last million € spent on traffic death prevention should have the same odds of saving a life as the last million € spent on cancer death prevention. The given budget would not save as many lives as possible if the above equation wasn't met.
      A look at the mortality statistics reveals that spending (additional) billions on counter terror efforts cannot possibly be justified - in fact, it means to increase lethality by depriving other efforts of limited funds.
      Counterterrorism budgets (including GWOT) kill us by depriving more efficient life-saving efforts of funds.


      By the way; it's pointless to claim that Islam has been at war with Christianity for x years: The same could be said the other way around as well, and just about everybody but the Swiss has a history with lots of wars.

  3. First off I agree that it is not the end of the world unless you are one of the cartoonist shot in the face. What did these people think would happen? I saw some of the cartoons and thought em dumb. The deceased remind me a lot of liberals in the U.S. Big talkers who hide behind imaginary lines, lawyers and the government going "nanny nanny boo boo you can't touch me". I support free speech, but for Pete's sake sometimes it is possible to go overboard. Take for example the Virgin Mary exhibit in New York. Why would anyone in their right mind want to cover the Virgin Mary in elephant poo other than to be an a-hole, to cause angst. Religion is a very personal thing and I think one needs to be careful. Liberals in this country freak out if you make jokes about gays or retards (I purposely used the word retard because of its impact), but something extremely personally such as one's religion is fair game? That's right ass clown Bill Maher I'm talking to you. What are the two topics that should be avoided at family reunions, Thanksgiving, etc? That's right, religion and politics.

    Don't get me wrong I do not condone this behavior and hope the killers are right now in a burning lake of sulfur, but this goes to show if one is too offensive they will get their s@%t scattered.