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threats and the perceptions thereof

genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

This article from The Guardian [https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/mar/20/how-the-arms-industry-trades-on-our-fear-of-terrorism-book-paul-holden-indefensible ... sorry the link-thingie isn't working for me] is long when compared to the brevity of the Tweet world but I thought it was excellent when differentiating between perceived and actual threats that American and other political poo-bahs can bandy about when searching for the attention they need in order to get re-elected.

Not only does the article assess the wonders of selling arms, it also calls into question the inadequate reasoning applied to "terrorism" and "crime." If nothing else, I think it urges anyone to rein in their shuddering imaginations and consider the statistical facts ... eg.

-- ... [Y]ou are more likely as a US citizen to drown in your bathtub (a one in 800,000 chance) than die from terrorism (a one in 3.8 million chance).
-- Toddlers, using weapons found in their own homes, have killed more Americans than terrorists in recent years.
-- [I]t is crucial to consider that the “war on terror” might have been a horrendous error. Such an argument runs like this: the attempt to impose a military solution on complicated political problems was simplified thinking with a false promise of total national safety. In turn, the militarisation of the response – as seen in the massive expansion of military deployments, arms spending, and the license to do anything in pursuit of national security – has in reality worsened the problem of armed violence in the world.

The article, for those willing, is much more than the average white-whining liberal screed....

Anyway, FWIW.



  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited March 2017

    With the greatest of respect, this is really old news. When Nic Cage made 'The Lords of War' (2005) it was as close a look at the manipulative and corrupted world of the arms industry, and the way it destroys lives - and not just with bullets - as it could possibly get.
    secondly, I have always said - and oft repeated - There are two common ways to keep the Populace in fear: one is through Religion, the other through The Militia and its power, be it foreign or domestic.
    When people pray for Peace, there's an irony right there.....

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    We like to use both religion and war!
    I think most of what is in the article (it was an interesting read) is known by most of the people who already believe it and care to know. The others simply choose to live in fear, and I think some of that choice is religious as well. They can thank God for keeping them safe and it cements their beliefs when it happens. You are vastly more likely to die driving your car and/or what you eat than anything but we prefer to be afraid of the serial rapist in the bushes. It also justifies our beliefs about the necessary ownership of guns.
    The entire culture around this has to shift and right now the people who seek to keep it in place get too much out of it to be interested in doing so. It needs to be built into our education and all the rest of our systems, but too many people benefit from not doing so. The system they have in place is working exactly the way they want it to work and we fit into it just the way they want us to, in places assigned to us by the time we are 5 years old in most cases. It's quite the racket they have.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited March 2017

    I recently read an article on the reasons we overestimate some threats and underestimate others.

    do you trust the person you are dealing with

    control vs. lack of control (lack of control inflates risk perceptions)

    is it catastrophic or chronic (catastrophic inflates risk perceptions)

    does it incite dread or anger (dread inflates risk perceptions)

    uncertainty (lack of knowledge about something inflates risk perceptions)


  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    With the greatest of respect, this is really old news.

    @federica -- If you didn't actually read the article (long, I grant you), I agree. But the stitching on this one is more careful than the usual, I think. Sorta like the difference between people who can say "it is what it is" and those who may actually try it... or praise "enlightenment" or diss "suffering"...

    Yes, it's old. But worth repeating, I think -- critical thinking is a pain in the ass, but sometimes it's worth it.

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