Jag är personligen allergisk mot hala slänten-argument om att det definitivt kommer att bli mycket värre. Därför njöt jag av att läsa kapitlet "Why suicide bombers should buy life insurance" i boken Superfreakonomics. Särskilt två stycken i boken fastnade lite extra. Det första stycket handlade om terroristbekämpning och följer:
"The probability that an average American will die in a given year from a terrorist
attack is roughly 1 in 5 million. He is 575 times more likely to commit suicide.
Consider the less obvious costs, too, like the loss of time and liberty. Think about the last time you went through an airport security line and were forced to remove your shoes, shuffle through the metal detector in stocking feet, and then hobble about while gathering up your belongings.
The beauty of terrorism, if you’re a terrorist, is that you can succeed even by failing. We perform this shoe routine thanks to a bumbling British national named Richard Reid, who, even though he couldn’t ignite his shoe bomb, exacted a huge price. Let’s say it takes an average of one minute to remove and replace your shoes in the airport security line. In the United States alone, this procedure happens roughly 560 million times per year. Five hundred and sixty million minutes equals more than 1,065 years, which, divided by 77.8 years (the average U.S. life expectancy at birth), yields a total of nearly 14 person-lives. So even though Richard Reid failed to kill a single person, he levied a tax that is the time equivalent of 14 lives per year.
The direct costs of the September 11 attacks were massive, nearly three thousand lives and economic losses as high as $300 billion, as were the costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that the United States launched in response. But consider the collateral costs as well. In just the three months following the attacks, there were one thousand extra traffic deaths in the United States. Why?
One contributing factor is that people stopped flying and drove instead. Per mile, drivingis much more dangerous than flying. Interestingly, however, the data show that most of these extra traffic deaths occurred not on interstates but on local roads, and they were concentrated in the Northeast, close to the terrorist attacks. Furthermore, these fatalities were more likely than usual to involve drunken and reckless driving. These facts, along with myriad psychological studies of terrorism’s aftereffects, suggest that the September 11 attacks led to a spike in alcohol abuse and post-traumatic stress that translated into, among other things, extra driving deaths.
Such trickle-down effects are nearly endless. Thousands of foreign-born university students and professors were kept out of the United States because of new visa restrictions after the September 11 attacks. At least 140 U.S. corporations exploited the ensuing stock-market decline by illegally backdating stock options. In New York City, so many police resources were shifted to terrorism that other areas, the Cold Case Squad, for one, as well as anti-Mafia units, were neglected. A similar pattern was repeated on the national level. Money and manpower that otherwise would have been spent chasing financial scoundrels were instead diverted to chasing terrorists, perhaps contributing to, or at least exacerbating, the recent financial meltdown."
Det andra stycket handlade om effektiviteten och priset av att jaga terrorister med data mining. D.v.s. att du hittar gemensamma faktorer vad gäller t.ex. civilstånd, bostad, bankvanor, matvanor o.s.v. och använder register för att hitta de som passar in på sociogrammet. Det följer:
"Let’s say, however, you could develop a banking algorithm that was 99 percent accurate. We’ll assume the United Kingdom has 500 terrorists. The algorithm would correctly identify 495 of them, or 99 percent. But there are roughly 50 million adults in the United Kingdom who have nothing to do with terrorism, and the algorithm would also wrongly identify 1 percent of them, or 500,000 people. At the end of the day, this wonderful, 99-percent-accurate algorithm spits out too many false positives, half a million people who would be rightly indignant when they were hauled in by the authorities on suspicion of terrorism.
Nor, of course, could the authorities handle the workload."