Which Group has Committed the Most Terrorist Acts on US Soil?

The RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents (RDWTI) contains data on terrorist incidents worldwide from 1968 through 2009. Terrorism is defined as the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change.

According to the Rand database, there were 567 terrorist incidents in the United States between 1968 and 2009. The most terrorist incidents, 140 out of 567 or 25% of the total during this period, were due to one group or cause, anti-Castro Cubans. The anti-Castro terrorist groups have killed 6 people, mostly advocates of dialogue with Cuba such as Eulalio Jose Negrin who was gunned down in 1979. Numerous bombings have also been traced to these groups including hotel bombings in Miami, bombings in New York of consulates (also Madison Square Gardens) and near-miss airplane bombings. Connections between anti-Castro groups, the CIA and the Bush dynasty remain controversial.

The group responsible for the second highest number of terrorist incidents on US soil, 62 incidents or 10% of the total (1968-2009), is the Jewish Defense League. Mostly these have been bombings in New York City of places or people attached to the Soviets. Perhaps the best known is the 1986 tear-gassing of the Metropolitan Opera House on the visit of the Moiseyev Dance Company. Rand tallies 2 deaths in total to the JDL.

Although these groups committed many terrorist acts on US soil neither had much interest in terrorizing US citizens per se, perhaps explaining the relatively low body counts in the United States.


And the place in Europe with the most terrorist attacks per year is Corsica. And the Friday 13 Paris attacks killed far more than a year's worth of them.

"Although these groups committed many terrorist acts on US soil neither had much interest in terrorizing US citizens per se, perhaps explaining the relatively low body counts in the United States."

-Bingo. It's the body count and the intent of incidents that matter, not raw number of incidents.

Go away banned poster.

I think the definition Tyler uses is very unusual because it doesn't mention the targeting of civilians. His definition is so broad you can apply the label to virtually every inter-state conflict and actor in history. I think including 'civilians' is necessary to reflect how the term is almost always used.

That's not Tyler, it's Alex. Tyler deletes my comments ASAP.

Again, the database was compiled by RAND, not by the Mercatus Center.

It isn't particularly out of line with the FBI's own definition of terrorism.


So far, I've gotten no announcement of a ban of any kind. I might be banned, but so far, the only indication I've gotten is Tyler's deletion of most of my comments.

Typical Russian. Always selecting defect.

So, a reasonable comment is dismissed due to 'banning?' Hopefully this web site will never sink to the level of farce that is DeLong's Internet travesty.

On what planet is
Lynching and KKK violence not included

1968, man. Get with the times.

Well, there were only a scatter of lynchings in the United States after 1946 and none at all after 1959 (something a bit obscured by the UMKC database, which classifies some political murders as lynchings). The 3d incarnation of the Klan broke up into rival organizations in 1949 which spawned local mini-Klans. The whole kit-and-caboodle has a membership of 2,000 or so, give or take the paid FBI informants. In the last 60 odd years, there have been no Klan homicides outside of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina; there weren't that many between 1954 and 1981; and there have been none at all since 1981.

The Greensboro killings in November 1979 are not listed, for whatever reason. (Perhaps because the local klavern who organized them had no affiliation with any other Klan and was dissolved subsequently).

Mostly they don't call themselves the Klan anymore, but they still kill people and commit other acts of violence. Especially in North Carolina.


but they still kill people

Which 'they'?

Oh wow a slate.com article explaining that the REAL problem is white male Christians, what a shock.

The War Nerd wrote about Corsican independence "terrorism" in 2003: they liked setting off very small explosives to break plate glass at night when nobody was around. It was closer to vandalism than terrorism.


Back in the day, the IRA blew up a lot of plate glass in London without killing too many random bystanders.

Terrorists have always been with us. Anarchists blew up the Barcelona opera house in 1893, killing 72. That is quite like Paris.

The trick I think is to keep perspective, and not let things get out of hand. The anarchists are pretty much forgotten, but WWI casts a long shaddow. In that case at least, the great nations let the terrorists trigger something beyond the power of a few stragglers and zealots.

So keep perspective and keep the lid on. Maybe worry more about Russia in Syria than ISIS in Syria.

"Terrorists have always been with us."


"Maybe worry more about Russia in Syria than ISIS in Syria."

-Right logic, wrong conclusion.

> "Terrorism is defined as the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change."

There is no objective definition of terrorism. It is merely a label for violent persons or groups you do not agree with or dislike.

Major nations and national governments are somehow generally immune from the terrorism label... when they create/exploit fear through violence for political change. Violence for political change has been the fundamental U.S. MidEast policy and practice for 25 years.

RH1 November 30, 2015 at 8:59 am

There is no objective definition of terrorism. It is merely a label for violent persons or groups you do not agree with or dislike.

No, that is simply projection. You mean you know that people you like and support commit terrorism. There is a perfectly objective definition and we all know it when we see it.

Major nations and national governments are somehow generally immune from the terrorism label… when they create/exploit fear through violence for political change. Violence for political change has been the fundamental U.S. MidEast policy and practice for 25 years.

This sub-Chomskyite garbage is still garbage. It is not and never has been US policy to terrorize people. It is true that George W Bush did use violence for political change. Good for him. Not terrorism.

"Maybe worry more about Russia in Syria than ISIS in Syria."

Having Russia in Syria is a cause for celebration, not worry.

They are brutal so will kill many of our enemies (of all sorts) while bogging themselves down and sidetracking terrorist attacks from us to them.

I always thought, ISIS is an ally of the USA.

It seems to me that Putin is all the things people say are scary in terrorists. Random, violent, nuclear armed, who knows what he can do .. but for some reason not scary.

Putin is too clearly a rational actor to be scary.
Crazy people are way scarier than rational people. Perhaps this is a misjudgement, but you'd have to make a case for why.

Murdering civilians in and out of the country is rational? Or do we turn a blind eye because we want to believe he is more rational than he actually is?

Ukraine only looks rational if you believe the alternative was Putin losing power, otherwise it was all too costly.

Donbass war was extremely rational. Now Ukraine can never join NATO. Cf., Moldova.

Putin isn't even remotely random. Tyler and you suck at understanding the perspectives of non-Americans.

"Murdering civilians in and out of the country is rational?"

-Yes. And you have no proof of Putin's responsibility.

Another factor Hazel, is that the American right is not immune to the Putin cult of personality. They love "appearing strong" so much that they will approve crimes against our interests. They will even make up benefits for Russia. Those won't be developed nation levels GDP or life expectancy. Those will skirt third world levels despite all the "winning."

Russia does not have a third-world level GDP/capita; who told you that? Not anything close. It skirts Greece's level (PPP) or the Southern Cone's (nominal). Hardly 3rd world. World Bank counts it as bottom of high-income.

As for life expectancy, yes, that does skirt 3rd world, but it's been recovering under Putin.

"They love “appearing strong” so much that they will approve crimes against our interests."

-Which ones?

Everyone likes someone who appears strong, especially from a weak position.
We have a leader who is weak from a strong position.

Appreciating Putin's strength is not the same as approving his crimes. It is usually those who appreciate his strength that are the same ones who wish we appeared strong in response - to stop his crimes.

What crimes? Donbass? Russia will win that battle every day of the week for decades. No point in countering it.

I think the conventional boundary condition is a gross domestic product per capita of 40% that of the United States. If you bracket out natural resource rents and make an adjustment for the share attributable to the most affluent decile, Russia's about 10% short of that.

Life expectancy is similar to that of the United States ca. 1950. That in India similar to the United States ca. 1935. The only part of the globe which has '3d World' life expectancies is tropical Africa.

I think the people who want Obama to appear strong really want him to make the same sorts of mistakes as Putin, to trade actual strength for appearance.

What mistakes of Putin? And Obama is strong and is using his strength, he's just more deceitful about it than Putin.

Hero Putin doesn't make mistakes. Did you know Hero Putin got 16 holes in one the first time he played golf?

Every large oil-exporting economy operating at capacity got hammered by the oil price fall. Russia, needless to say, is one of them.

Speak for yourself. Putin is far more terrifying than terrorists. Which is why the vast majority of our Western military strength is (rightfully) aligned against Russia and not against terrorism.

We don't have the carrier fleet and Minuteman III and the Abrams tank and the B-2 because of a bunch of medieval throwbacks who continue to exist only because we want to play nice-guy policeman; we have those things because someday the big kids might get into a tussle.

That said, it would be by-far preferable to have Russia continue on the path of being more or less friendly with us then return to some Cold War dynamic. That was a really scare state of affairs and we should do just about everything we can to avoid going back to it. I think Putin is scary. I don't think he's an enemy.

Gochujang, where are you getting the death count (72) for the Liceu bombing in Barcelona? Most sources I have read put the final death count in the low 20s.


There are those among us who will go into a fit of rage if another has opposing views even if those opposing views aren't even expressed; it's the existence of opposing views that trigger the rage. That's the case with some Cuban exiles; indeed, in south Florida it can be a suicidal act to express opposing views (such as normalization with Cuba). What triggers a fit of rage includes politics and religion, but it can also include such mundane (mundane to a sane person) subjects as discount shopping malls (I'm not making this up). There are the deranged shooters at schools and shopping malls, but I would distinguish them from the garden variety person who becomes unhinged at the thought of anybody having opposing views and is mad as Hell about it. And unlike the deranged shooters, there are thousands, millions of them among us. What happens when a demagogue triggers their rage?

There are an awful lot of abortion clinic attacks - http://www.vox.com/2015/11/27/9808224/abortion-clinic-violence-history

maybe not properly classified, or not attributed to a single cause.

That article leaves out the millions of attacks that occur inside the clinic.

"That article leaves out the millions of attacks that occur inside the clinic."

3 dead is likely the lowest total in the clinic's history.

I don't see any violence inside the clinic
I do see women who are no longer slaves to their incubators because some man raped them

It is crude but true: if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament

Recycling Florynce Kennedy's stupid aphorisms is jejune.

If men could get pregnant, they would be wo-men.

You could stand outside a Colorado abortion clinic for a year and it would be unlikely you would see a single rape victim. The Left likes to focus on the 14 year old rape victim because it helps their narrative. In fact they are extremely rare. Most abortions are about lifestyle choices.

And the abortions are all driven by some desire to create political change? Regardless of one's views on abortions there really isn't any way to twist them into some act of terrorism.

Civilization is based on rule of law. Like it or change it, but to play word games that your opinion is higher than the law is to align yourself with the forces of destruction. You become a terrorist.

I have to say Go was the last person I expected to see condemn Rosa Parks.

But you have to admit, he does kind of have a compelling argument. And the day before the anniversary of her arrest too. In your face Mandela!

Seriously? Rosa Parks justifies terrorism?

No. Civil disobedience comes from another place entirely. It is taking a burden on ones self to highlight a wrong. It sure as shit is not pouring gasoline in a hospital lobby.

Let us take what you said and apply it to Ms Parks.

Civilization is based on rule of law. Like it or change it, but to play word games that Ms Parks' opinion is higher than the law is for her to align herself with the forces of destruction. She becomes a terrorist.

I think that argument is asinine. How precisely is civil disobedience when you dislike the laws being challenged any less terrorism than civil disobedience when you do like the laws being challenged?

So every time a senator sponsors a bill to change current law, they are committing an act of terrorism?

there are infinitely more natural abortions than in any clinic.

go bomb god for that.

No, there are not. Perhaps 1 in 5 pregnancies miscarries. That's a similar percentage to the share of surgical and chemical abortions.

Everyone dies eventually as well. Does not make homicide any less a crime.

'Perhaps 1 in 5 pregnancies miscarries'

Not if you count egg fertilization as defining the state of being pregnant - 'About 30% to 40% of all fertilized eggs miscarry, often before a woman knows she is pregnant.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscarriage#Causes

I have the sense not to quote Wikipedia.

Is it ok to quote Wikipedia when it is correct?

The RAND database claims there were only 9 terror attacks worldwide that were "Abortion Related" in the covered time period (1968-2009). Apparently RAND is pro-life.

uh-oh, here come those who consider women confronted with painful choices to be terrorists, and defend killers of cops and health care providers. stay classy MR.

I've always thought that with 300 million people in the U.S., it's surprising how few acts of lone-wolf terrorism there are. I've met some seriously unhinged people and always wondered what keeps them from going over the edge.

I've said the same thing about the crazy US homeless. Imagine if they started arming themselves with Saturday Night Specials.

Do you know how many bottles of Thunderbird you can buy for the $300 the gun would fetch on the street?

I suspect that's because most of the 300 million pretty much live their lives locally -- random people are not at risk as much as those they regularly interact with and there are other counterveiling aspects of the relationships (as well as other people) that probably help mitigate the rage. The real loners and highly isolated may well tend to become more withdrawn atther than seek to engage the external world.

Interesting though here, and perhaps it helps explain ISIS, as the more and more people become connected with modern communications the ability to isolate oneself from that external world becomes more and more difficult without forgoing additional parts of one's live we all will tend to believe we're entirled to (e.g., surfing the web).

Should have added "and so we may well see an increase in those lone-wolf" acts as the interconnections increase.

Generally, each of them can only go over the edge once.

"I’ve met some seriously unhinged people and always wondered what keeps them from going over the edge."

Their outlet is commenting at MR.

I'm not sure how they distinguish which acts are committed by groups and which by individuals. Either way, it would be interesting to see a comparison between terrorist acts motivated by radical Christianity with those motivated by radical Islam on American soil.

Over a period of 32 years (1978-2009) you had 6 incidents, 4 of them the work of Eric Rudolph, who had no affiliation with any kind of cell, club, or organization. I don't think 'radical Christians' are your problem.

You missed a few Art. From Wikipedia on Anti-abortion Violence:

>---"Anti-abortion extremism is recognized as a form of Christian terrorism.[7]
At least eight murders occurred in the United States since 1990, as well as 41 bombings and 173 arsons at clinics since 1977."

This may not be "your problem" but it is a problem.

To clarify, you're asserting that a murder rate of a little over one every five years (38 years, 8 murders) is a significant problem?

To clarify Jody, I think the murders AND the bombings AND the arsons are a significant problem and are a form of terrorism. If you are anywhere near an abortion clinic or a Planned Parenthood office, you should be a lot more worried about Christian terrorists than Islamic terrorists.

Complain to the RAND Corporation. There are six cases in their database. Wikipedia is not authoritative and RAND's criteria don't necessarily have the same boundary conditions as those to whomever they're referring.

And, no, it's not much of a problem.

Greg G November 30, 2015 at 10:38 am

You missed a few Art. From Wikipedia on Anti-abortion Violence:

It is noticeable that Wikipedia classifies as Christian people who were not Christian, or at least their motivation was not religion. John Salvi and Scott Roeder were probably just mentally ill. Eric Robert Rudolph was not motivated by Christianity.

Their bias is obvious in that they have added the Colorado shooting to the list despite no evidence of the shooter's motivation so far.

>---"probably just mentally ill"

And you are assuming that most Muslim terrorists are in good mental health?

Greg G November 30, 2015 at 6:58 pm

And you are assuming that most Muslim terrorists are in good mental health?

That massively misses the point. The Left and the media (to repeat myself) classifies anyone who attacks an abortion clinic as a Christian. As they have done in Colorado. Whether or not they were. At least one of those listed by Wikipedia specifically said he was not motivated by religion. Called a Christian shooter anyway. Two were not coherent enough to have any obvious motivation - and in one case the only links seems to be that he might have dated a pastor's daughter. Well we have all been there.

A Muslim terrorist might be disturbed, but if he is doing it for disturbed Islamic reasons, he is a Muslim terrorist. Some of the Christian attackers have not been of sound mind but they thought that God wanted to them do what they did. I don't mind calling them Christian. But to call someone who has no clear religious motivation a religious terrorist is simply bigotry.

>---"The Left and the media (to repeat myself) classifies anyone who attacks an abortion clinic as a Christian."

And the very same media (and same MR commenters) classify almost any Muslim who attacks Christians as being motivated by religion. In fact a great many are motivated by political and economic grievances, as well as mental illness.

Can we count 'direct action' by protestors at WTO events as well. What about looting by rioters?

how about segregated housing ?
Lynching ?

There haven't been any lynchings since 1959. The number of lynchings was in almost monotonic decline from 1893 to 1946 and disappeared almost completely after that.

You fancy ethnic residential clustering is 'terrorism'? Or declining to rent an apartment to someone for reasons of taste is 'terrorism'?

I'd say Cabrini Green counts as terrorism yes
maybe not the normal definition, but it is certainly using fear and violence to control the population

The sources of 'fear and violence' in Chicago housing projects are the residents themselves.

Well fear and violence controlling populations? Well I talked to a friend from New York once, back in the day when Broken Windows was new and racist, and he said New York was perfectly safe. As long as you knew which subway stations not to get off at. He said only idiot tourists got in trouble through ignorance.

So if any population is controlled by fear and violence it is Whites. After all, how many White people dare stroll through Oakland? Or Harlem? No Black people fear moving into White neighborhoods. No Black parents have removed their children from schools because of violence from White pupils.

I think you need to re-think your definition of terrorism or your prior assumptions.

So if you define "terrorism" to include incidents which didn't hurt anybody, and choose your window carefully (why 1968? why not 2000 or 1965 or 1915?) you can blame Jews and anticommunists for "terrorism." This is an epic example of How To Lie With Statistics.

The database itself begins its catalogue with incidents in 1968. That's not a bad selection for a terminus as the practice of airline hijacking in the Near East dates to about then. Producing an inventory of undifferentiated 'incidents' is just one of many search options. The gloss you're referring to is the moderator's, not the RAND Corporation's. Please recall that one of the moderator's recurrent shticks is that law enforcement is useless. This is just another sales job.

He also does not mention that the Jewish Defense League and the anti-Castro Cubans have, per this database, been responsible for one incident each in the years since 1987, so complaints are not exactly topical. Neither incident involved any fatalities or injuries. Nearly all the incidents recorded after 1998 (bar the September 11 attacks) were either unattributable or committed by one of two tree-hugger outfits. Interesting that goes unmentioned.

One other thing: the only fatal attack supposedly committed by the Jewish Defense League in the last four decades was the assassination of an official of a Muslim denomination in Detroit in 1983; law enforcement has been skeptical that the JDL was actually the perpetrator. The only injuries have been from tear gas at the Metropolitan Opera in 1986.

"Incidents which didn't hurt anybody" are pretty relevant when the subject is terrorism. If the parking lot of your place of work was bombed at midnight when no one was there but a note was left saying there will be more to come, I think you might have second thoughts about your daily routine or the security measures at your office.

The Jewish Defense League has been almost completely inactive for nearly 30 years. I doubt they're having much effect on anyone's daily routine (or ever did for people who were not employees of Soviet and Arab consulates).

Obviously some form of causality weighting is necessary to make comparisons between groups. Number of acts without regard to significance is meaningless.

Is the Pentagon attack on 9/11 classified as terrorism?

Yes. Perpetrator is listed as 'Al Qaeda'.

It should not have been. The Pentagon was a legitimate military target.

No it wasn't

Not when you attack the Pentagon with a hijacked commercial airplane.

True. But the death toll from terrorism should exclude the people working at the Pentagon.

But the death toll from terrorism should exclude the people working at the Pentagon. -

No, it should not. Al Qaeda is not some legitimate military force engaged in military operations. It's a parastatal body which picked a fight with a foreign power. That you loathe the military enough to make excuses for al Qaeda changes nothing.

Tell that to the Obama and Bush administration officials who all utilized the language, instrumentalities, and legalities of war when dealing with Al Qaeda. It sounds like you think they should have sent the FBI instead.

This seems like a definition argument rather than anything meaningful, but if I'm understanding Art Deco, by his definition no attack by Al Qaida could ever *not* be terrorism, even if it was carried out by uniformed soldiers assalting an army base in a war zone.

Collateral damage

Tell that to the Obama and Bush administration officials who all utilized the language, instrumentalities, and legalities of war when dealing with Al Qaeda. -

So what? Your business is providing a lawyers brief for hijacking a civilian airliner to murder the occupants and a mess of government employees a propos of whatever. Good luck with that.

Are you feeling okay? That was a non sequitur.

Maybe you're just upset your buddy got banned?

Date range problem:

1968 to 2009

How many bell bottoms do you have?

The Joker theory maybe? Being killed by terrorists isn't part of the plan. With most crime or accidents people have an easy time convincing themselves that if they do A,B, and C (where A B C represent some safety measure like carrying a gun, wearing a seatbelt, or whatever) it won't happen to them. Their safety measures may or may not actually work, but they seem logical and are thus comforting. Also, if a person did have the idea of killing you, they'd face legal consequences that would cause them to rethink, or at least represent a form of revenge--and even if they die in a mass shooting, at least they're denounced as a loser and their families are properly shamed--so it's in some way dealt with in the system.

With terrorism--particularly terrorism that involves suicide, there's no protection within the system, so to speak. It's (apparently) random, there are no trials, and usually no sense that there's any shame or consequence after the fact. There's just dead people and perhaps some more bombs dropped in a place where bombs are seemingly dropped all the time anyway.

There's a difference between me being 37 and my heart explodes and me being 37 and shot through the heart by an assassin.

Each of them are me dead at 37. But most people consider the second to be worse.

Once I realized that deaths via agency are different than deaths without, it wasn't hard to figure out there are differences among deaths via agency.


What's the exchange rate between with- and without-agency deaths? Like, are you willing to accept an added 1/1000 probability of dying of cancer due to Xray exposure in exchange for decreasing your risk of dying in a terrorist attack from one in a million to one in a billion? That sounds like an awful tradeoff to me, though it's basically in line with the tradeoffs we routinely make. (The added TSA screening post-9/11 probably encourages a fair number of people to drive instead of fly, resulting in a lot more deaths than we'd have been likely to see from terrorism.)

Not so relevant to analyze what happened in Paris but opens a really interesting question. With the relations improvement between the US and Cuba, what would be the attitude to the anti-Castro "terrorists" if they act again? Would there be a Florida-wide raid to catch them?

A certain administration has found it useful to reclassify terrorist acts as "workplace violence".

Army massacre of 13 US service members KIA by one each Muslim major. Of course, 3,000 dead don't count because they were latter-day pilgrims seeking a better life that did it.

RAND needs to take the long view and survey Muslim mayhem in the years from 637 AD to 2015 AD.

In forty years, anti-Castro Cubans killed six and the Joooos killed two.

The post is anti-Cuban-American and wildly anti-Semitic.

Pretty much all the Muslim incidents in recent decades are filed under the omnibus category 'Other', including Nidal Hassan.

The Miami anti-Castro mafia is a nasty bunch (they also play into the hands of Castro, who claims every ill Cuba has is due to the embargo); I think one such guy, a CIA sometime operative, blew up a civilian jumbo jet plane in Venezuela full of people, but not "US domestic" so it 'doesn't count'.

You got the number of political opponents Castro and Che murdered since 1959?

how about the number of child prostitutes working under batista - you have a number for that ?

Cuba's per capita income ranked 5th in Latin America ca. 1955, so the number is likely lower than all but four Latin American countries at the time, much less India or Africa.

in answer to your question,
sort of

suggests that whatever the number, it is less, much less, then our "friends" in argentina, brazil, guatemala, etc

1. Define 'friends'.

2. Come up with a decent source.

Most of these groups didn't kill anyone, though. 92% of fatalities in the dataset (from Feb 1968 to Dec 2009) were on 9/11.

This perverse line of reasoning from Alex and Tyler is getting nauseously tiresome: "lookit lookit, these guys do bad stuff too. If you don't let a bajillion migrants into your state, to add to your already overburdened social assistance systems, you's a hypocrite "

Most of the immigration debate is about security right now- so that is the aspect they are focusing on.

They've made convincing pro immigration economic arguments numerous times in the past. Read them and you might understand why your line of reasoning is wrong.

They’ve made convincing pro immigration economic arguments numerous times in the past.

No, they haven't, because the posited economic benefits from immigration are unimportant and sensitive to the contours of public benefit programs and the composition of immigration flows. They've never even attempted to make the argument that displacing the extant population with foreign imports is beneficial to those displaced, though they're not as rude about it as Bryan ("Screw you losers") Caplan.

Doubling world GDP is definitely "unimportant."

And the notion that global gdp will double is fictional and I would doubt Bryan Caplan believes his own hoo ha on that point. See the work of George Borjas.

The impact of terrorism is largely psychological.

After 9/11, people were afraid to fly on airplanes. The airline industry essentially went bankrupt en masse and the NYC tourism industry was sent into a deep recession. In order to make people feel safe again, we were forced to spend tens of billions of dollars a year on Homeland Security Theater. I'm not even going to touch the costs associated with the two wars in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, mass shootings kill hundreds of people per year and relatively few people change their behavior as a result. The Charleston shootings didn't cause anyone to stop going to church. The recent shooting at Planned Parenthood won't cause PP to change its practices much or scare off many potential customers.

How we feel about a given event and what we demand of our political leaders afterwards helps determine how large the impact of that terrorist event will be.

When the anti-Castro Cubans kill some low level Florida politician it doesn't radically change Florida society in the way that a 9/11 or a Paris attack changes things.

So that's by Number of Incidents. And how about by number of victims?

Nidal Hassan killed more people than the Cuban die-hards and the Jewish Defense League combined.

Definitions are funny things
If you were African American, you might say that violence by the police, in service of the white power structure, is the number one cause of terrorism in the US

If is not just terrorism; the near violence out side planned parenthood facilities is daily, widespread, and leads to significant cost

If you were African American, you might say that violence by the police, in service of the white power structure, is the number one cause of terrorism in the US -

If you were a doofus who'd taken to heart the vicious utterances of mediocre academics and sorosphere employees, you might say that.

much of this thread is concerned with the absolute number of deaths, and comments to the effect that you are more likely to be hit by lightning then by a terrorist
google suggests ~ 300 - 400 blacks killed by police per year
that is *every year*
even if only 10% fit my def of terror, that is far and away - far and away - more deaths then any other single cause

PS art deco - I do appreciate the civil tone you bring

e abrams, police officers carry sidearms and use lethal force because there a quite a mess of violent people in this country. Containing those violent people is what the police are hired to do. If you fancy police officers kill 200-odd people a year for sport, that's a function of your attitude, not of facts or logic.

How come that doesn't happen in the UK?

What doesn't happen? You fancy British cops never shoot anyone?

The population of Britain is 1/5 that of the United States and their population's dispositions differ and are much less inclined toward homicide, so you have fewer instances where police officers are compelled to use lethal force.

Well if you are just going to count deaths, the Black community is clearly not only terrorizing itself, it is terrorizing the White community too. The majority of deaths in the US are the result of young Black men. But we don't usually call that terrorism.

Nor should we call policemen going about their legal business terrorism either. They are trying to enforce the law. The vast majority of shootings are perfectly legal.

The vast majority of shootings by young Black men are not legally but they are not terrorism either. They are work place incidents - a side effect of choosing an illegal line of work. However some level of them are not so easy to classify. When Eldridge Cleaver said that his rape of White women was politically motivated, and intended to terrify, wasn't that terrorism? How much Black-on-White crime is similarly politically oriented? No one asks these questions, but if they did, I expect the majority of terrorism would not be by Cuban Americans.

Less than 3% of Blacks killed by homicide are killed by Law Enforcement. Far more Whites are killed by Blacks. Blacks are also a greater source of terror due to intent.

I think black-on-white murders outnumber white-on-black murders by a factor of about 1.5. Neither is very common. And, of course, only a modest minority of police killings are questionable to anyone who does not begin with the assumption that local hoodlums should have a franchise to attack police officers and neighborhood watch captains (an assumption many people actually do hold re Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman).

Thanks for the heads-up!

We should all watch out for those very dangerous anti-Communists in general and the anti-Castro Cubans in particular.

Never mind the practitioners of the Religion of Peace.

Well, Christians do have a long tradition of not knowing what Jesus taught. But that is no reason to be cynical - maybe Gandhi's quote will not be as apt in the future. Past performance of 2000 years of sectarian slaughter is, as the warning states, no indication of future performance.

I'm surprised that people are treating the RAND database as authoritative and complete. I'm sure the compilers are well aware of its deficiencies. In a former job, I was responsible for cataloging incidents in a small number of countries, and it was an extremely difficult task. A huge number of attacks have taken place in South America, Africa and India (mostly by Leftists, Islamists and separatists) which are not well documented, not even in excellent databases such as the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

I was also disappointed to see the way Alex and Tyler analyzed the data, especially in relation to the number of total incidents. Focusing on that questionable statistic (the data may be incomplete, but I agree the total may be in a downtrend) obscures important trends. For example, Marxist attacks have dropped off dramatically around the world as that ideology has declined. Attacks by the IRA, Tamils and Sikh extremists have also declined (does anyone still remember the bombing of flight 182, which killed over 300 people?). In contrast, Islamist terrorism is resurgent, and not just in the West.

Conflating the total number of attacks also obscures the fact that there is a huge difference between an incident associated with political activists who generally try to minimize casualties (such as Weatherman Underground or the ALF) and those that try to maximize casualties (eg, ISIS and AQ). This is important for two main reasons: (1) we find it much easier to understand the motivations of the former, (2) there is a much greater potential future risk from the latter. This last point is important because we have long wondered why more "Mumbai" style attacks have not occurred, considering how easy they are to plan and carry out and the large potential death toll. With the attacks on Paris, it's at least possible that ISIS has figured it out and more copycat attacks may be on the way. It is therefore not ok to blithely point to the total number of attacks and ignore possible emergent threats with the potential for massive loss of life.

You didn't read Alex's post very carefully. He looks only at the US so your first two paragraphs aren't relevant and he says very clearly the point you make in the first sentence of the third paragraph. Read it again.

Thanks Jim for your penetrating insight.

My first two paragraphs are relevant because this post is a continuation of Tyler's earlier post where he mentions that, "By a variety of metrics, European terror attacks were worse in the 1970s and 1980s than today." Sure, now Alex is talking about the total number of attacks on US soil, but he's using the same database in much the same way as Noah, and I don't think it's irrelevant to point out that we should take the database with a grain of salt.

Your statement about my third paragraph is truly odd. Of course Alex mentions the difference in intent, and therefore body count, but he doesn't say why this is relevant to future discussions about who conducts the terrorist attacks and why we should differentiate between them. Again, this is partly aimed at Tyler's previous points about "fear of future murders". And please don't something silly like this is the wrong post to be making my points against. I simply don't see this post as completely separate and divorced from Tyler's since they were both published one after the other.

The Cuban government is totally innocent. How many people has Castro murdered? Tortured? Imprisoned? Is that how you make friends? And we all know how everyone loves the Jews. What reason would they have to kill anybody?

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