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A sense of proportion

Over the last thirty years, there are annually between 15,000 and 23,000 murders in the United States.    And yet given the level of scrutiny related to American Muslims, one would be forgiven to think that it is Muslims who somehow present an existential threat to America.     A recent careful study indicates that the threat of terrorist attacks initiated by American Muslims is vastly exaggerated:    Terrorist acts initiated by American Muslims account for 33 of that 15,000 to 23,000.    


Here is the conclusion of the report, conducted by the Triangle Center for Terrorism and Homeland Security.   The conclusion is important enough to warrant being quoted in full:

Almost 200 Muslim-Americans have been involved in violent plots of terrorism over this decade, and more than 400 Muslim- Americans have been indicted or convicted for supporting terrorism. In 2011, the numbers dropped in both categories, and the severity of the cases also appeared to lessen: Muslim- American terrorist plots led to no fatalities in the United States, and the year’s four indictments for terrorist financing indictments involved relatively small amounts of money.
As in previous years, non-Muslims were also involved in domestic terrorism, proving once again that Muslims do not have a monopoly on violence. This study has not attempted to analyze those cases.
The limited scale of Muslim-American terrorism in 2011 runs counter to the fears that many Americans shared in the days and months after 9/11, that domestic Muslim- American terrorism would escalate. The spike in terrorism cases in 2009 renewed these concerns, as have repeated warnings from U.S. government officials about a possible surge in homegrown Islamic terrorism. The predicted surge has not materialized.
Repeated alerts by government officials may be issued as a precaution, even when the underlying threat is uncertain. Officials may be concerned about how they would look if an attack did take place and subsequent investigations showed that officials had failed to warn the public. But a byproduct of these alerts is a sense of heightened tension that is out of proportion to the actual number of terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11.
This study’s findings challenge Americans to be vigilant against the threat of homegrown terrorism while maintaining a responsible sense of proportion.

“Responsible sense of proportion.”
33 out of some 15,000 to 23,000.    
One life lost to violence is one too many.  Whatever the cause, one life lost is too many.

But to allocate our resources in a responsible fashion, keeping a sense of proportion doesn’t seem too much to ask for, does it?

Tags: american muslims, homeland, security, terrorism, threat


  1. All true. Good reporting.  Minor point to consider, however:

    The “underwear bomber” is Muslim.  He was the guy who tried to blow up an entire plane over us soil.  Just sentenced to life in prison, he proclaimed Allah’s greatness a number of times during the sentencing.

    Naturally, no sense in bringing up the Times Square Muslim bomber, and his van full of explosive tanks ,since it failed to ignite in midtown Manhatten. 

    Or the bearded Massachusettes Muslim who was in contact with Al Quaida and wanted to aquire weapons and kill Americans, intercepted by the FBI and now in custody.

    So what could we estimate might have been the result of these attacks?  Well, an entire plane full of people..perhaps 250 dead had his crotch bomb ignited as planned?
    Times Square during rush hour… hard to say,. maybe 50 dead if the perp had better technical skills? 

    Those two evens alone would have increased the body count of “religion of peace” devotees ten (10) fold., bringing Muslim terrorist’s body count on US soil post 911 from 0.17% of murders, to 1.7%  Still not that bad compared to the total number of murders in the US, that is until you realize that Muslims represent only approximately 0.6% of the US population.  How many more terrorist events were averted or failed to keep the number to “only” 33?  We likely won’t know.

    But for good luck and bad planning by the terrorists the rate of deaths caused by Muslims on US soil would be over double the proportion of Muslim representation in the US.  Sounds like the FBI resources are being spent wisely.

    But hey, the Muslim terrorist plans that are thwarted or go awry just don’t mean anything when calling for a respnsible sense of proportion.  Let’s not think about them, or post a chart, or even take ownership of it.  After all, lack of succes shouldn’t be taken as a threat. 

    I magine this uncomfortable set of facts will be dismissed as racist.  The denial shall begin that the would be terrorists aren’t “true” muslims. Or it’s a Zionist inspired lie by a non-Jewish atheist. Or mass murder failed attempts just don’t count. 



    Today:  “Feds arrest man allegedly heading to U.S. Capitol for suicide mission after sting investigation.  The man, in his 30s and of Moroccan descent, was nabbed following a lengthy investigation by the FBI, initiated after he expressed interest in conducting an attack.”

    Whew..looks like the FBI disproportionate attention saved another statistic.

  3. I think, professor, that you (I hope inadvertently) engaged in a logical fallacy by comparing incomparables—like apples and oranges.
    Anyone who murders is a murderer, for sure. Not all homicides, however, are murders.
    But all attempted murders are attempted murders. Thus, you should be comparing attempted murders by comparable groups. For example, you might want to compare how many Muslims attempted murder in 2010 in the U.S. vis-a-vis Buddists or Catholics or Jews or Protestants or Mormons or any other religious sect; or all U.S. religious sects.
    But it is certain that comparing actual murders, by various persons of unknown religious affiliations, with attempted murders by Muslims, is not logically or statistically sound.
    For what it is worth, I am a nontheist—I do not believe that there is any supernatural power anywhere—but I hold fast to the idea that people who have a faith should be allowed to practice it without interference from government; AS LONG AS THE PRACTICE OF THAT FAITH DOES NOT INVOLVE ANY HARM TO OTHERS!
    Paul A. Brennan, Esq.

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