Thoughts on terrorism from “The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom” by Michael Shermer (Holt, 2015).
I may be doing more quoting here than is allowed under “fair use” but here goes. I will paraphrase his seven myths about terrorism.
- Terrorists are pure evil. This was what Bush said after 9/11, but studies show they are typically motivated by outrage at U.S. foreign policy.
- Terrorists are organized. There is no top-down, central organization directing terrorism.
- Terrorists are diabolical geniuses. The shoe bomber and others following 9/11 were incompetent.
- Terrorists are poor and uneducated. They are typically higher-income, better-educated individuals.
- Terrorism is a deadly problem. Compare 13,700 homicides per year with 3,000 from 9/11 and an average of 70 terrorist deaths per year, or 7.8 per year excluding 9/11.
- Terrorists will acquire and use a nuclear weapon…
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