... the cycle is the same, something horrible happens, we all watch it happen in real time and feel terrible and want to know who were the perpetrators, what are the circumstances, and why did it happen? We get some inkling and have a discussion of what the implications are for policy, what we might do to prevent something from this happening again in the future.
When it's guns, when the killer is a shooter, the answer is --- nothing. We are told "this just happens." But if it gets put in a special category called terrorism, then the answer is, everything must be done, no cost should be spared, no legal precedent should stand in the way. Once it gets put in the terrorism bucket, we must do everything in our power. No one ever says "people are going to die from terrorism, that's just the way it is." And if it's in the gun bucket, "yeah, 30,000 people are going to die every year from guns, that's just the way it is."
Why is that the case? In the last 30 years, there have been 30,000 to 40,000 gun deaths in the United States per year, more than 900,000 people. In the last 40 years since 1970, there have been about 3,400 terror-related deaths, depending how you define terror according to the integrated united states security data base.
A million gun fatalities in the 33 years since 1980 versus 3,400 terror fatalities since 1970 ...
I urge you to watch the whole thing. He does not discount the unique meaning of terrorism and the special fear it invokes. But he contextualizes how we deal with fear and violence in a way that no one else does and offers us some needed perspective on our priorities and responses.