Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Unnecessary Levels of Scariness

The top article on today is Survey: 'High risk' of WMD attack within decade and the blurb that appears there:

The chance of an attack with a weapon of mass destruction somewhere in the world in the next 10 years runs as high as 70 percent, arms experts have predicted in a U.S. survey. The most likely scenario is a nuclear attack by terrorists with a weapon made of black-market materials. Most of the more than 80 experts surveyed also believed that as many as five countries could join the nuclear club during the next decade.

Please excuse me while I go build a bunker in my basement, oh wait, I live in a basement. Fuck.

This is a terrifying statistic at first glance. (Well I think it is, maybe I'm a scardey cat, I'm too young to die.) But we have to keep in mind a number of things. This statistic is based on a survey of experts. And while I think experts are great, surveying an expert isn't exactly the same as; estimating the number of terrorists in the world, and estimating how many nuclear/other wmd type materials they could get ahold of and then estimating how likely they are to actually attack successfully and using those estimates to come up with a probability. Hopefully this is what the experts did when they answered the questions, but who knows. My faith in "experts" is very low.

And also 70% is a really big number, so we should recognize that 70% is the percentage for an attack anywhere in the country. If you live in a place like Butt-fuck Idaho is probably significantly less than that try like .01%. Places like NYC, LA and Washington are probably at 70% though. It has a lot to do with where you live.

Also 70% represents any kind of attack with a weapon, like a dirty bomb or a Chemical weapon. Which would obviously be horrible regardless, but not as horrible as say, dropping one of our own weapons on ourselves. Did you know that between 1960 and 1990 the US built 70,000 nuclear bombs? At one point we had enough fire power to blow up the earth 32 times.

It is important that we don't allow the media to use these statistics to make us afraid. I think that the people are beginning to awaken from the fear that started after 9/11, we cannot let them use surveys and statistics to bring it to the forefront again. Even though we are living in dangerous times we have to keep our wits about us.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. -Dune, Frank Herbert

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