Is Terrorism not worth worrying about?

By John Honovich, Published May 09, 2010, 08:00pm EDT

After the recent Times Square attempt, the number of public critiques against video surveillance and other anti-terrorist measures has increased. The most vocal critic is likely Bruce Schneier, one of the world's most famous security writers/practitioners.

In a May 2010 post, he asserts:

"Compared to the real risks in the world, the risk of terrorism is so small that it's not worth a lot of worry. As John Mueller pointed out, the risks of terrorism 'are similar to the risks of using home appliances (200 deaths per year in the United States) or of commercial aviation (103 deaths per year).'"

We think this is a point worth considering though most industry professionals are likely to disagree. A key rebuttal would be the negative externalities that terrorism engenders beyond the direct number of people who die from terrorist events.

For more on this topic, see Schneier's recommendation on airport security and our critique of Schneier's position on video surveillance.

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