Terrorism and conceptual gerrymandering

Periodically people write articles arguing that terrorism is not a problem because it doesn’t kill very many people, especially when compared to various other amusing causes of death, such as choking, drowning in a bath, lightning strikesbicycles, heat waves, accidental gunshots, etc.

This is a terrible argument. Here’s an example that will hopefully make this clear. Let’s say I have a friend named Steve. Steve is a murderer. And murder, unlike terrorism, is a huge problem, right? Well, it turns out that murder by Steve is a tiny problem. Steve only murders, let’s say, 10 people a year. That’s less than the number of people who die every year in parachuting accidents! So murder-by-Steve isn’t worth worrying about, just like terrorism.

Right?

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