January 5, 2010

How Great is the Threat of Aircraft-Based Terrorism?

In my recent post Preventing Terrorism "At All Costs", I argued that it is necessary to consider the genuine risks of terrorism and balance them against the cost and inconvenience of proposed security measures, rather than merely taking a knee-jerk "anything to make us safer" approach. In the course of the post, I compared the risk of aircraft-based terrorism to other risks we take every day, such as driving on Los Angeles freeways. In a recent post, Big Numbers and Air Travel (HT: Uncommon Priors) on his blog Good Math, Bad Math, Mark Chu-Carroll examines the question of just how risky air travel really is. His conclusion? "The chances of being hurt by someone who got past airport security, even without things like the full-body scanners being deployed after this latest panic, are smaller than dying in your dentist's office from an anaesthesia error." If this analysis is correct, then it seems obvious that current airport security measures represent a massively disproportionate response.

Posted by Kenny at January 5, 2010 1:53 PM
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