We Should Be Spending Billions Fighting Bathtubs, Not Terrorism

Every year, on average, 40 Europeans die in terrorist attacks. When you compare the policies and billions plown down into this number, you quickly discover that we should not be spending billions to fight terrorism, but to fight bathtubs. Over five times as many people drown in bathtubs every year.

I’m a very strong proponent of evidence-based policymaking and putting quality requirements on the legislative process, and therefore, I require hard data to justify decisions and policy. When researching this topic, the strangest thing about the number of fatalities from terrorism wasn’t the number itself, but how hard it was to find. It seemed to never have been published anywhere by any single European bureaucracy. It seemed that policymakers weren’t interested in quantifying the threat.

You can find lots of data on terror in Europe (causes, groups, police forces, etc) when searching for it. You just can’t find what danger it actually poses.

So I needed to do the basic research myself, and tallied all terrorist attacks in Europe over the years 2000-2009 from the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents. 403 people died in Europe over a decade from terrorism, almost half of which in Madrid in 2004, and an additional 50-ish in London in 2005. This gives us an average of 40.3 people per year.

This number needs to be put in perspective, to understand if 40 people per year is a lot or a little. Apparently, it must be a terrible lot, since so many repressive policies are justified by this number, right? So next, we go to the European Detailed Mortality Database to compare this number to other causes of death in Europe.

To our surprise, we find that drowning in bathtubs kills over five times as many people as terrorism – 223 per year! We need to pull all the taxpayer billions from fighting terrorism immediately and put them to work against bathtubs. They are more than five times as dangerous as terrorism!

Even more, over six times as many die from falling off chairs – 254 people per year. We should be spending billions fighting chairs!

Worse still, 941 people per year die from falling out of beds – 941 people per year. That’s over twenty times as many as die from terrorism.

This leads us to the conclusion that fear-mongering policymakers don’t want to see published in hard data:

The data doesn’t justify the decisions and policy.

But we haven’t gotten to the worst European killer in this collection yet. One that kills over a hundred times more than terrorism. This evil killer, this savage monster that reaps European sons and daughters like wheat in the field. This cause of death reaps 4,362 people per year.

I speak, of course, of the staircase.

Staircases like this one kill us because they hate our freedoms and want to destroy our way of life.

4,362 people die every year in Europe from falling down staircases – over two orders of magnitude more than terrorism. Since we’re spending billions fighting terrorism, we need to spend at least trillions fighting staircases, according to the data.

Now, these numbers are presented to show that the danger from terrorism is minute compared to other causes of death, and that taxpayer funds spent fighting terrorism isn’t justified by the actual threat as displayed by hard data. Thus, there are ulterior motives. Control, perhaps. Profit, perhaps. Scaring people into submission, perhaps. Excuses for wiretapping and surveillance, perhaps. All of the above, perhaps.

To defend the policies, you’ll have no hard time at all finding a politician who will react to these numbers claiming that the number of fatalities from terrorism is so low just because billions are spent fighting it. This kind of bullshit statement ranks straight up there with “We pray to these rocks every night for the sun to rise again in the morning, and therefore, the sun has kept rising every morning. Our method has been a remarkable success.” In short, correlation does not imply causation – the therefore in the middle of the sentence is plain made-up bullshit.

For another illustration of the deception in this reasoning, consider the statement “Nine out of ten people who die in mountainside skiing accidents lack flotation life jackets.”

The basics of evidence-based policy that most politicians still have to learn.

Rather, I have been anything but impressed with the forces spending these taxpayer billions. You hear the occasional “terror plot foiled!” in the media among cries of success, but once you start scratching on the surface, it turns out that the suspects were all acquitted for very good reason. I see James Bond wannabes who mostly behave like the clumsy Kling and Klang from Pippi Longstocking or like the fumbling les Dupondts from the Tintin albums. In Sweden, when the security police were caught breaking the law and the constitution, they were even let off for being too incompetent to stand trial.

We could be saving many, many more Europeans by spending those billions fighting bathtubs. And staircases.

The key point of this article is this:

The hard numbers on terrorism invalidate the current policies mercilessly.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Joey

    You are completely ignoring the psychology behind all of your facts.
    If people are willing to spend so much money on “fighting” terrorism, then there is a solid reason for it, and if the reason is not rational, as your analysis suggests, then it is irrational, meaning-emotional. Here are some guesses:

    1 – terrorism threatens the group spiritually. This is considered a graver threat than bathtub deaths, which merely kill individuals, not the group.
    2 – the much publicized fight against terror is a way to increase group cohesiveness and solidarity in an era of extreme individualism.

    Either way, until we begin treating our unconscious needs seriously, such irrationality will rule our culture.

    1. Drew

      I don’t think the intent of this article was to address the psychological forces behind counter-terrorism spending. Rather it is that, regardless of reason, the economic expenditure vs evidence is far too great to justify.

      That said I think your assessment of an emotion based policy is spot on. To really analyze this we should look at the emotional result of terrorism. Being aptly named that would be terror and why not? The idea that an unknowable and alien force can descend with no rhyme or reason and deprive you of life completely beyond your control is… terrifying.

      Once we are terrified the next predictable emotional response is to seek security. Luckily for us we have an entity one of whose core directives is to provide for the national defense, so we demand that they do something about it, we don’t know what but something and now. So the government spends what they need to for realistic defense.

      Trouble is that rational response does nothing to ease the emotional beginnings of all this. After all counter-terrorism doesn’t really lend itself to the public eye. Expressly because one of the main reasons for a government to exist is defend it’s citizens if they don’t believe that it is doing so it undermines the government’s existence. [Because for some reason we expect them to be more competent than any equally large group of near-random citizens]

      The obvious solution is to spend more to create the illusion of security like what we see at airport and subway security checks. What we get, besides various violations of civil rights, is something that is expensive, doesn’t really protect us much better, but provides an emotionally satisfying resolution.

      Now here is where it gets really interesting. Once you start spending large amounts of money on fighting terrorism that money itself becomes an illusion of security. So much so that if you pay attention you can hear politicians say things that amount to “The previous administration spent 70 billion to combat terrorism but mine has spend 80 billion. I have made you 10 billion dollars safer as a result.” Likewise it creates this idea that more money is equal to more safety and less money is equal to less safety. Making it difficult to curtail especially for anyone with dreams of having a political future.

      So, to conclude, this kind of spending starts as an emotional terror, evolves into an unrealistic demand on the government for security, and becomes a sort of self propagating monster of expenditure that ultimately serves as an emotional shield forged of money. To break this cycle we don’t need to be less terrified of terrorism but to have a more realistic idea and acceptance of what amounts to useful protection, especially while maintaining civil liberties.

      At least, that’s how I see it.

      1. Joey

        spot on.

      2. Anonymous

        I could and would not say better.

        Ricks is a tiny bit off with his arguments on this. But in general i do agree.


    2. Peter

      that is the stupidist thing i have heard in weeks. I am sure each American feels more threatened each day by Homeland security then they do with potential terrorist attacks. Like many others you are simply brainwashed or brain dead. Terrorism is an economy and a wonderful platform for rising politicians who need agendas and platforms. As Rick would suggest we would better have a War on Staircases, or a War on Beds….makes far more sense.

      1. Ano Nymous

        I hope so.

        I live in Sweden, and we have had one (failed) terrorist attack here. Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly blew himself up in Stockholm with one of the pipe bombs that he had strapped to his body, but failed to kill anyone else than himself.

        In our neighbor country, Norway, as I am sure no one have missed on the news, there was the terror attack by Anders Behring Breivik last year.

        Of course we saw 9/11, the Madrid bombings, the London bombings etc. on the news too.

        Still terrorism doesn’t scare me very much, but the laws that are supposed to counteract it do. I am certain that these laws will lead to absolute totalitarian fascism way faster than most people think.
        I think we should regard ourselves very happy if the 2014 election happens, and is unbiased and anonymous. There is no way there is democracy left in 2018, so it’s our last chance.

        Unfortunately, most of the people I meet are the type of hyperemotional nonthinking idiots that make all of this possible. I really hope that that is not the case in general, but I’m afraid that it might be. Then, to put it simply, we’re screwed.

      2. Rab Kay

        You are exactly right. Falkvinge was not addressign the psychological feeling people have (or are told they have), but the raw facts of the numbers. It would be well to recognize more carefully what you have stated. namely, that

        1. A whole counter-terrorism industry has now been foisted upon the citizenry.
        2. It suits the expansion of government power very generally, and
        3. It suits the purpose some have but would neer say out loud of undermining and rejiggering the internet itself. The internet is a genie that has escaped from the bottle. It is out of government control and therefore very scary to TPTB. They either will or will not succeed in taming it.

        The clock is ticking.

  2. TTime

    I love this article.

    Should we start the war against bathtubs with surveillance cameras in our bathrooms…?

  3. passstab

    i feel the same way about many vaccines
    chicken pox for example,
    BEFORE the vaccine there were 105 deaths a year from it (11000 hospitalizations)
    vaccinations cost ~30$ (to be generous) i’ll let you do the math..

    1. Caleb

      Doesn’t that imply that the only vaccine you’re getting is for chicken pox? In my country, we get vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, influenza, hepatitis, polio, whooping cough, meningitis, and HPV. Then, you need to compare the deaths/year from before vaccinations existed to post vaccination to see the comparison. Also, immunization is a group effort, if you choose not to vaccinate your child, when everyone else does, probably they won’t get that illness, but only because nearly everyone else is vaccinated. If everyone decided to let everyone else get vaccinations, polio would be crippling children again. It’s basic game theory.

    2. spiralofhope

      You are truly a danger to yourself and others.

      – plague ravages humankind
      – steps are taken to fight it
      – humankind not killed off so much
      – NOT KILLED OFF SO MUCH?! zomg pretend like there’s no need to fight it
      – plague ravages humankind

      herp derp logic

      1. Christopher

        Missing that most of those diseases they have been putting out vaccines for in the past 20 years are not ‘deadly’ diseases that seriously harm or kill most who get them, but just temporary inconveniences that keep children out of school for a week or less (I personally was back in school 3 days after having chicken pox, cleared to return by a doctor in 1987).

        You also have to think about the small, but growing as we investigate, portion of people who because of genetic and other disorders should not be getting so many vaccines or so many vaccines so young.

    3. spiralofhope

      (re-post, seems the commenting is a bit busted)

      You are truly a danger to yourself and others.

      – plague ravages humankind
      – steps are taken to fight it
      – humankind not killed off so much
      – NOT KILLED OFF SO MUCH?! zomg there’s no need to fight it!
      – plague ravages humankind

      herp derp logic

      1. Scary Devil Monastery

        Are you being deliberately obtuse?

        Let’s try this one for size – “Cold epidemic kills five, cholera kills a million”.

        In the quotation above, we are allocating twice as many resources to fight the cold rather than cholera.

        And this is what you currently try to justify with a rather astonishing leap of logic.

    4. Emil Ole William Kirkegaard

      While the number of deaths due to that disease are rather few, there are other things to note, that favor mandatory vaccination.

      First, let’s assume your numbers are correct. That’s 11000 hospitalizations. Those cost a lot of money. Perhaps more than the vaccines to everybody to begin with. Prevention is often cheaper than treatment.

      Second, when we eradicate the disease once and for all, we will never need to treat it again, or vaccinate against it again. The future savings are very large.

      Third, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Many of these children’s diseases have other non-death implications. Some of them can make you sterile, some can make you death. These things cost money to treat, if they can be treated at all.

      I’m sure I can think of a few more reasons, but I’m in a hurry now. 🙂

      Emil Ole William Kirkegaard
      Board member, Pirate Party Denmark

      1. Llarian

        Emile, there is another fact that you probably do not know: Many of the newer vaccines like the one for chicken pox do not give life-long immunization, as opposed to having had the disease. And while children rarely ever experience complications, adults do. Result: 15 years after vaccination, a now adult Person contracts the disease and almost invariably suffers from one severe complication or another, or even dies. Had that same person not been vaccinated, but contracted the chicken pox as a kid, nothing would have happened to them except missing a week of school.

        Unfortunately, thanks to These vaccinations, we now do have a growing number of adults contracting chicken pox, measles, and other children’s diseases and suffering from severe complications, up to and including death.

        And no, I am not anti-vaccination; I just think that as with everything else, one should evaluate if the vaccination is actually worthwhile. Vaccinations for smallpox definitely were, the same goes for Polio. With measles, it depends on the Country you live in – there appear to be a lot more complications and deaths in warmer climates. Chicken pox and HPV are on the other end of the spectrum – vaccination is useless and even has a high Chance of turning out to be detrimental rather than helpful.

    5. Matte Patte

      You anti-vaccer really need to remove yourselves from the genepool, do it quickly.

      Can we have some more chlorine for the pool, please!?

  4. LittleGreenLeaf

    Another comparison, from John Mueller, (A False Sense of Security)

    “Even with the September 11 attacks included in the count, the number of Americans killed by international terrorism since the late 1960s (which is when the State Department began counting) is about the same as the number of Americans killed over the same period by lightning, accident-causing deer, or severe allergic reaction to peanuts.”

    The money spent on “terror security” is very often spent on what I believe the experts call “security theatre”, which main reason is to make us feel more secure, but often have very limited practical effect in reality.

    It is also mainly, what I believe is called CYA (Cover Your Ass) security, which is not designed to protect us (normal people) from terrorists and terrorist attacks, but to protect our politicians and public official from potential criticism…

    1. Christopher

      Right in one. The ‘security’ we have today is not about protection of people, but about covering politicians asses so that they can say ‘Look, I am doing something, you can see it!”

      Too many people today (a good 1/2 of the population of the world) are so stupid that unless someone puts something in front of their nose, they say that thing doesn’t exist.

  5. Mikael

    The staircase photo is a bit scary. Not very useful for large scale fear mongering, though. Furthermore, everyday security in practical life do not sell very expensive surveillance stuff, nor provide that many jobs to “security” in uniforms.
    It wouldn’t be very profitable to do business under slogan “staircases are our enemy”, I guess.

    On correlation: since Microsoft was founded around the time when HIV started spreading more widely, and there was growth in both over decades, there must be causation… correlation…. co-variation. I mean co-variation. I didn’t say anything, really. 🙂

  6. vingenfalk

    You’re right that the data does not justify the policy. Secrecy makes it impossible for citizens to know if their policies are rationally justified. This is a major problem for a democracy.

  7. jimbo

    most importantly, governments cant introduce draconian measures against the biggest threat to modern day mankind, copyright infringement, without adding on the dastardly way file sharers are almost, always, probably involved in possible terrorism!

    we all know it’s nothing other than total bullshit but politicians have grown into this breed of people that listens to no one, certainly not the people they are supposed to represent, other than another politician that just happens to be full of bullshit as well!!

  8. spiralofhope

    What kind of broken reasoning is this?

    Perhaps everything being spent on the war for.. I mean ON terrorism is what’s reducing the number of deaths?

    You can’t compare an active situation (terrorism) and the unknown results of current efforts (the war on) with a known situation (bathtub deaths).

    > The hard numbers on terrorism invalidate the current policies mercilessly.

    No. Wrong. There goes your credibility.

    It’s more easy to argue that all that money is actually paying off. However, that too is a trap. There’s no solidly understood link between spending and its effect, only the (hopefully provable) understanding that it helps.

    1. Scary Devil Monastery

      Actually the one here losing credibility would be you. Indeed, an active situation can not be compared to a static one.

      However, this is what turn in time in which a “war on terror” has been fought? Restricting the issue to modern times alone, we have AMPLE data to draw on. Indeed, we can go all the way back to the early burecucrats in the roman empire and tally their encounters with homegrown terrorists and find that the lessons they learned were quite similar to ours.

      The real trap here is that you appear to make the taci t assumptions that either terrorism as it is currently practiced is a new phenomenon (and this is manifestly false),
      or that human society has changed to the point where our current encounter with terrorists will provide radically different results despite being waged – once again – with the tired old “All means at our disposal” philosophy.

      The only way you can even make your case is if the second case proves correct. Please back that assumption up with some form of argument, if you please.

    2. Christopher

      Spiralofhope, terrorists are nothing more than mass murderers under a more ‘terrifying’ name. I don’t see us spending massive amounts of dollars to try to prevent mass murderers by other people…. like the people who you go to work with everyday, which are much more likely statistically to kill mass amounts of people.

  9. printersMate

    You have used what the public understands to be terrorism, but some politicians have a much looser definitions of terrorism, which effectively includes anybody campaigning against the laws they want pass. During the ACTA campaign Marielle Gallo said:-

    “”It’s not only a disinformation campaign. It’s a soft form of terrorism that frightens people”.

    Network surveillance would be very useful in fighting that sort of campaign. Security theater can also be useful in disrupting the travel plans of protest leaders, and searching for material that they have not trusted to the Internet; like their address book.

  10. Emil Ole William Kirkegaard


    While I agree that current laws are not based much in evidence, your argument tone is too polemic for this kind of discussion. And when emotions have their way, reason has less to say.

    You dismiss the idea that the spendings on antiterrorism are part of the reason why terrorism deaths are so few in EU/Europe. But surely some deaths have been prevented with terror laws. But how many have been prevented with so much money and other costs to our civil liberties? Suppose we grant that these laws have decreased deaths to terrorism by 50%. So there would have been 80 deaths instead. That’s still very few. And if a mere 40 deaths is what can be avoided with such spendings on antiterrorism, then its not worth it. More can be saved with spendings on research, and improved health care. It’s a matter of effective policy for the limited amount of money there is to work with.

    Or perhaps just reduce taxes. That will be good as well.

    Another mistake in your analysis in not employing Hanlon’s Razor.

    I really do think that most of these politicians are not evil. They are not trying to make a profit (some of them are, most aren’t). They aren’t trying to build Big Brother societies. They are ‘only’ misguided and incompetent, or plainly populistic. If you want to understand the enemy, you must stop demonizing them and thinking they are evil. Having a less polemic tone will also help convicing people.

    Another point you didn’t make, was that such laws are often not used to fight terrorism at all. Recently, the use of the Danish antiterrorism laws was examined. It was found that they are almost never used to fight terrorism, they were used to spy on ordinary citizens for unrelated reasons. Clearly not their intended use. I suspect this is the case in other countries as well. This is a very important point that needs to be made more often. Laws, with very few exceptions, have unintentional effects. This is important to note. They are part of the cost-benefit analysis that should go into the making of any law.


    Emil Ole William Kirkegaard
    Board member, Pirate Party Denmark

  11. Realist

    The Islamists terror attacks makes us change our laws and when they reach a critical mass they are going to use these laws against us. Think about it, it’s perfect.
    We are infidels who must be punished.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      I mentioned that there’s plenty of statistics on terror attacks in Europe, just not the fatalities total. In particular, there’s one statistic that addresses your concern here.

      The number of fatalities from Islamic terror attacks is exactly zero, counting from when Europol started running statistics on the matter.

      In contrast, the fatality count from terror attacks by people who are anti-Islamic – the sentiment you express – is (at least) 77.


      1. Realist

        Those statistics don’t change the fact that the new so called anti terror laws will be very convenient for the Islamists whom rule EU in a couple of decades. Or do you think left or right-wing terrorists are in power then?

        1. Billy

          You, sir, are a completely insane fear-mongering American. The muslim world has never managed to unite – see the Sunni vs Shia. Kinda like Christians. They can pose a united front, but self-destruct, and are far from controlling things.

          In a democracy, who do you vote for: somebody you’ve been taught to fear and revile, or that white guy in a suit? Duh.

  12. Ajit

    What you are missing out is – if counter terrorism spend is reduced, the deaths due to it will not stay the same. They might increase many fold. Deaths due to terrorism is not lower in spite of spending, it is because of the funding.

  13. Antony Goddard

    Terrorist plot foiled ! Many of these cases rely on evidence from the policemen who
    offered to procure the culprit detonators, aluminium tubes, fertilsers, maps, help with transport, etc. Culprit had been a loudmouth, carried away with hatred of some group of people such
    as the sort of consumers that buy trash things & threaten the planet. Culprit gets life sentence and police get promotion.

    Quite seriously the UK discovered wide spread plots for dozens of trained suicide bombers to jump into airliners all over the world with liquid nitroglycerine in their aftershave. The data was obtained through good relations between British Embassy attaches and torturers in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and any other country which wanted USA sponsored ‘War on Terror’ advice the USA to bolster their cruel and oppressive regimes. The use of torture is mostly ‘State Sponsored Terrorism’, and is often the cause of further terrorism.

    The Internet offers other opportunities for prosecutors. There are many documents called
    the Arnarchist’s cookbook in circulation, and if found on a computer with koranic verses ond/or jihadi videos, then the computer user can ‘test the courts’, and if with beard, get locked up for a few years.

    Disgruntled loners are normally off the radar. In London one man conducted a lethal bombing campaign against gay bars and street markets frequented by people who were not white enough for him.

    Falkvinge tells the statistics well. Relative risk is something that does get onto geeky radio
    and TV programs, but no one talks about it in the politics or economics pages.

  14. bathtubs

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    […] Rick Falkvinge over at Falkvinge on Infopolicy has crunched the numbers for Europe and comes up with some interesting results: […]

  16. Sergio Mauro

    I like this kind of analysis and the interesting numerical results. However, we should consider the dynamics of the problem: bathtub deaths, unlike terrorism attacks, cannot increase exponentially and cannot trigger a civil war.

    1. Confused in seattle

      If the names of different invisible sky men can trigger wars on a mass scale, I’m pretty sure that bathtub deaths can too. Also, If terrorism triggers a civil war, then it wasn’t really terrorism, it was “Guerilla activism”.

  17. Martin

    While I think that they’re wasting a lot of that money as well, comparing the prevention of terrorism deaths to those that happen in a bath tub or a staircase is comparing apples and oranges. Drowning in a bath tub is something that any individual can avoid by taking some simple precautions, the bath tub is not out to get you.

    The drive to fight terrorism comes from not wanting people to be afraid to go outside and be part of the community. This fear comes from the fact that there is a little to nothing that an individual could do about not getting blown up while on the subway, other thatn not ride the subway. Fighting these other deaths are as easy as ; not running such a deep bath, don’t lean back on your chair, elderly people could use a gate on the side of their beds to prevent rolling out, and finally pay attention and take your time while on the stairs. If you die of these other deaths, it’s partially your own fault, dieing from a terrorism attack is something you can do very little to reduce the chances of without infringing on a living a normal life.

    1. matt

      You are missing the point. Look at any statistics on causes of death such as this http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/deaths_2010_release.pdf. The leading causes are disease (mostly unavoidable), and accidents (often caused by a third party). You cannot escape the risk of death just by taking simple precautions. If you are afraid of being attacked, you should be afraid of being attacked by a disease, or an out of control vehicle. You are more likely to accidentally kill yourself with a gun than being killed by terrorism. The point is this – there are hundreds of more real threats to your wellbeing than terrorism, which could be reduced by better research and funding. Instead the billions are spent on making the politicians look tough on terror – if a few lives are saved, it is at an extreme cost to the freedoms of those who remain.

    2. gurra

      There is no one out to get you either. The only thing terror causes is paranoia like yours. It will be a great boost for psychologists and therapists who need clients. And for the defence industry for sure.

      “The drive to fight terrorism comes from not wanting people to be afraid to go outside and be part of the community.”

      Nah. Not even close. The drive to fight terrorism comes from wanting a demand for government security and defence spending.

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  19. harveyed

    Yeah. And we should definitely put up cameras to monitor those bastard bathtubs so we can catch them when they try and strike down their victims! 😉

  20. Herschall Pierson

    But maybe that number is only so low because of the billions spent on defending us, if we cut the funding to a level proportional to the number of deaths more terrorist attacks would happen. I’m not saying definitely and I’m not saying that that justifies the policies but without further evidence there is no way you can make a claim liek that.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      The dinosaurs barely ate any chocolate, and look at them now, they’re extinct! (That’s an argument of the same type, pointing at a correlation and claiming there has to be a cause-and-effect relationship.)

      It’s the other way around. It’s the person who claims there is a connection that has to prove there is one, and in this case, I’m arguing there isn’t any.


  21. kebabsoup

    This article is kind of silly. Your logic starts with a wrong assumption: politics don’t spend money in anti-terrorist measures in order to save lives, they do it to show that they are sovereign, to show that nobody can claim the power from them by the means of violence, they do it to discourage people from forming dissident groups by showing how they are treated.

  22. MehBot

    I see a lot of people are making points that governments spending extra money on the war on terror makes citizens feel safe, and I see a lot of people also stating that spending extra money on the war on terror makes the government and by extension the nation as a whole seem stronger however, it’s not the government’s job to indulge the citizen’s paranoia or fear by spending unnecessary amounts of money. It is the government’s job to maintain the infrastructure and foundations that allow the country to run; furthermore, those running a government SHOULD look at their legislation from a more analytical point of view as far as cost vs. benefit analysis, efficiency, and so on and so forth. Basically, people are crazy irrational beings that cause chaos everywhere, but to achieve peace and order of any kind, leaders must not succumb to such irrationality so that they may effectively and efficiently lead their respective nation, and Rick is certainly spot on in saying that said national leaders are not doing so.

  23. danwat1234

    But what if we didn’t fight terrorism, I suppose the number of Europeans killed by terrorists would be much, much more than 40. I think this is 1 of the dumber things to post. Yes, I’m sure there is some money wasted in the ‘war on terror’ but at least some of it helps us not to all be bombed.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      This is an assumption that is 1) described in the article text as utterly false and 2) utterly false, not to say dumb. You could just as well claim the classic about your necklace protecting you from tiger attacks (in the middle of London), then stating as “proof” that you haven’t been attacked by a tiger, and therefore the necklace works. It lacks every shred of logic and quality reasoning, and is no grounds for legislating.

  24. Nvigator

    Conspiracy theory they say, most terrorism acts are made by the elites in fact el Queda is creation of CIA to instill emotional fear, steal gold from federal building (911), Narcotics in Agfan. and God knows what more agenda they have in mind.

  25. Me

    ATTENTION! To the person who posted this, I have a question for you. Are you retarded? If the money spent for antiterrorism wasn’t spent to give us better security, the percentage of terrorist attacks would be much higher. You should really think about things more clearly before you write dumb shit.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Yes, and if the dinosaurs had only eaten chocolate, they would not have been extinct now. Because cause-and-effect relations pulled out of one’s ass are always credible.


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    […] Fight Bathtubs, not terrorism. […]

  27. zorg

    You should spend that money developing alternatives to fossil fuel! Because if you don’t, you’re going to have a lot bigger problems than terrorists ! http://math.350.org/

  28. Saif

    I agree with the basic idea of this article. I would just like to share some thing about the ‘psychological’ aspect of terrorism from my perspective (and not rant about all the children who die in the drone attacks as collateral damage)

    I live in Pakistan, in the city of Peshawar, which borders Afghanistan and the Tribal belt (home to miltants and Taliban). Our city has been the target of anti-govt terrorism from Taliban for quite some time now. There are fatal bomb blasts in and near the city, targeting all sorts of things, politicians, political gatherings, other public gatherings, Friday prayer (that is the largest congregation in the whole week) business that are deemed un islamic (barbers, video stores, mobile phone stores etc) schools for girls, and many times, just a random place in a random market.

    I remember when the bombings started initially, after a bomb went off people would talk about its frequently and for days, won’t go to markets, restaurants and parks for some days, then as this went on, the duration of discussions on public forums and among friends, the days people stayed indoors started getting shorter and shorter, until a point was reached when people would hear a bomb go off, call their friends and family to see if they were alright and then continue with their life. Once there was a car bomb blast abt 50 meters from our home, my younger brother, about 9 back then was rattled for a week, had trouble sleeping, but then he got over it and was fine once we replaced the few broken window panes and some debris of the car from our roof!
    And unlike what some people may belive about people from the 3rd world countries, we are, infact equally capable of feelings in all domains of existence, and in equal strength, depth and magnitude 🙂
    yes there is terror in my mother’s heart when I go out and there is a bomb blast somewhere, but despite that, she and others in the same situation know that we have to make the best of what we have.
    So, in my city, amid all the bomb blasts, kidnappings for ransom and target killings, we still manage to have a normal life, we still go out for dinner some time, still have fun with our friends, go to schools/colleges/offices, go for prayers, watch movies, play sports, organize and attend elaborate weddings etc.. The point being, the fear of the unknown is much bigger, much worse than when people actually come face to face with it.
    (some rough stats for reference: 100 to 250 ppl die in terrorist attacks, around the same in personal disputes and violent crimes per year. one person on avg is kidnapped for ransom daily)

    I would also like to point out the 80/20 rule and the fact that the probability of catching the 1st fish in a lake is much higher than that of the last one. If casting the net/ line cost a certain amount of money, a tipping point will come where the cost of time/effort will get higher than the return. I think what US and EU are spending on their anti-terror efforts is way past that tipping point.

  29. Logic dude

    Only 40 people die in terrorist attacks BECAUSE THEY STOP TERRORIST ATTACKS FROM HAPPENING. Did you search for data on possible terrorist attacks that were stopped from happening?
    Maybe you’re right, and politicians spend too much money on terrorism, but if they didn’t do anything at all to try and stop it, there would surely be more deaths.

  30. desolator

    Your “logic” can’t even barely hide the political agenda behind it, and it’s even full of fail. You see terrorism in a local context and not in the global one how it should be seen, that’s like living in a upper class guarded fenced off quarter and blabbering about how no money should be spent for fighting hard drugs because you can see no people dying from it.
    I know, you see yourself as part of the intellectual elite, standing on top of your ivory tower of intellectual supremacy claiming the ownership of moral and deciding what the death of people should be worth. But sorry, you neither have any moral nor are you intellectually superior, you are nothing but the standard bitter lefty misanthrope keyboard politician combo who is only happy when he can tell others what to think (and looking down at them when they don’t).

  31. […] year from terrorism. That’s in an area with 500 million people. To put that in perspective, five times as many die from drowning in bathtubs, and over a hundred times as many die from falling down […]

  32. bathe

    Now I am ready to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet again to read additional

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