The unpredictable and random nature of terrorism is what makes it so frightening, but that element also causes us to lose sight of the reality. Terrorism is less likely to kill you than a lightning strike or a lawnmower accident. Thousands of people die in car accidents every day, but these deaths generally don't usually make the news, whereas acts of terror do.
But of course, a terrorist organization acquiring a nuclear weapon is a very genuine threat. As the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pointed out during President Obama's final Nuclear Security Summit:
"The specter of terror loomed over the Nuclear Security Summit...To grasp clearly the threat they pose, it is necessary only to think of the recent attacks in Brussels and Lahore if carried out by terrorist killers with even a small nuclear device."
Daniel Kahneman of The Washington Post believes our disproportionate media coverage of terrorism makes us overestimate the risk.
As he explains in his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” “extremely vivid image[s] of death and damage” resulting from terrorist attacks are “reinforced by media attention and frequent conversation,” leaving us with highly accessible memories of such events. When people who have been exposed to such coverage later assess how likely more terrorism is, such events come readily to mind.
Others pointed to the hypocrisy of those who only react when the terror suspect is Muslim.
Conservatives who had nothing to say about Charlottesville, Las Vegas & Sutherland Springs, where the terrorists were white, are now furious about Port Authority because the attempted suicide bomber has a Muslim name?
No. Terrorism is terrorism. It's all terrifying. Period.
Very thankful #explosion in #NYC was minimal. First responders were exceptional. The attempted terror attack again reaffirms that the threat of radical Islamic extremism is real. America must be vigilant, Congress must provide @realDonaldTrump@POTUS with all resources to fight. https://t.co/u65acYqLEe
Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore also added his two cents.
In the United States Senate I will fight with President Trump for the increased safety of the American people and I will not mince words when it comes to calling out radical Islamic terrorism for the threat that it is. (3/4)