Reacting To Terrorist Attacks

There have been numerous terrorist attacks in Paris today. I, of course, condemn these acts, feel sorry for the victims and their friends and families, and hope that any individuals and organizations that are responsible and/or plotting further attacks are disrupted and prevented from doing any more damage.

That said, I thought I’d repost a comment I just made on facebook:

I agree that it’s a really bad thing[…]. But, I wish people would try to maintain perspective. Lots more people die in traffic accidents than from terrorists. But, the world doesn’t stop and pray for everybody on the road every day.

I understand that we’re wired to care a lot more when there’s an intentional harm than an accidental one; but we can also use our analytical minds, rather than instinctive emotions, and remember how, relatively, small a problem it is, and how unlikely it is to affect the average person. I’m afraid that these things often lead to stupid over-reactions and bad policies that make us much worse off. And, international attention encourages more people to commit these acts. So, even if you do have an over sized concern about terrorism, you should *still* hope for a restrained reaction.

I don’t expect human behavior to change immediately, but maybe we can nudge it a bit towards progress.

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