Cato Institute (PDF): “In the end, it is not clear how one can deal with the public’s often irrational — or at least erratic — fears about remote dangers. Some people say they prefer comparatively dangerous forms of transportation like the private passenger automobile (the cause of over 3 million deaths during the 20th century) to safe ones like commercial airlines because they feel they have more ‘control.’ But they seem to feel no fear on buses and trains — which actually are more dangerous than airliners — even without having that sense of control and even though derailing a speeding train or crashing a speeding bus is likely to be much easier for a terrorist than downing an airliner. And people tend to be more alarmed by dramatic fatalities — which the September 11 crashes certainly provided — than by ones that cumulate statistically. Thus, the 3,000 deaths of September 11 inspire far more grief and fear than the 100,000 deaths from auto accidents that have taken place since then. In some respects, fear of terror may be something like playing the lottery except in reverse: the chances of winning the lottery or dying from terrorism may be microscopic, but for monumental events that are, or seem, random, one can irrelevantly conclude that one’s chances are just as good, or bad, as those of anyone else.” (via Boing Boing)
© 2006, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.