Reason Alert: Terror Threat, Airport Security, Ron Paul

More likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist; airport and homeland security 10 years after 9/11


- How Scared of Terrorism Should You Be?
- Ten Years Later, Airport Security Woes Remain
- Ron Paul, Gov. Rick Perry and Ronald Reagan
- New at Reason

How Scared of Terrorism Should You Be?
As authorities warn the country about a possible terror plot, Reason magazine Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey reminds us that we are four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist: "In 2010 (the latest report), 15 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks; nine died in 2009; 33 in 2008; 17 in 2007; 28 in 2006; and 56 in 2005. The vast majority of private U.S. citizens killed in terrorist attacks died in the war zone countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. So the sad tally of Americans killed by terrorists around the world since 2005 comes to a total of 158, yielding an annual rate 16 Americans killed by terrorists outside of the borders of the United States. Taking these figures into account, a rough calculation suggests that in the last five years, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million. This compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist."
Shikha Dalmia: America's Exceptionalism Endures

Ten Years Later, Airport Security Woes Remain
In his airport security newsletter, Reason Foundation's Robert Poole says the US is still not using risk-based screening that would focus airport security resources on high-risk travelers and says, "The TSA's takeover of airport screening was based on a mistaken belief that screening failures-rather than intelligence failures-- allowed the 9/11 attacks to succeed. We are still living with the consequences of that mistake...I'm also dismayed that after 10 years, there is still no serious discussion of eliminating the serious structural flaw that was built into TSA by the original 2001 ATSA legislation: the agency's conflict of interest between being the aviation security regulator and also being the provider of nearly all passenger and baggage screening. No other developed western country combines those functions in a single entity. In nearly every case, a national government body sets aviation security policy and regulates airlines, airports, and the providers of both equipment and services (such as checkpoint screening). Only in the United States does the airport screening provider regulate itself. That is bad policy and bad governance."
John Stossel: Government Failed on 9/11
Stossel, Reason's Matt Welch, and Ann Coulter Debate 9/11, War and Homeland Security
Who Really Kept Us Safe After 9/11?

Ron Paul, Gov. Rick Perry and Ronald Reagan
Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch says the spat between Rep. Ron Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry over Ronald Reagan is "an excellent occasion to revive two underappreciated points: That Ronald Reagan in the mid-1970s really was a rhetorical 'radical for capitalism' (at least by the heavily debased standards of mainstream American politics), and that his presidential record was considerably less impressive than advertised on restraining the growth of government. For evidence of the former, look no further than Reason's classic interview with Reagan in July 1975. His ideas about libertarianism were a mixed bag to be sure, but, well, here's how he answered the first question. Reagan said: 'If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.'"
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