LETTER: Terrorism is down in the U.S.

To the editor:

Hopefully, readers have had a chance to catch their collective breath after digesting Robert Lee’s long, hard look at terrorism and the world’s resolve on July 23. With a nod to his concerns, some perspective is in order.

It seems as if there has always been something to frighten us. Those of us who recall the past six decades, or so, remember the U.S./ USSR nuclear rivalry. Perhaps you practiced ‘duck and cover’, or built a bomb shelter; and citizens almost always had some fear of a computer error or misunderstanding that resulted in the launch of hundreds of ICBMs. Skyjackings were the rage at times, and terror attacks from various sources have always loomed. Over the past couple of decades the 24 – hour cable networks see that we rarely forget terror, and helpfully provide the blow-by-blow of each incident.

The University of Maryland’s global terrorism database provides some needed focus for us. Acts of terror within the U.S. and Puerto Rico, by their definition, were down by some 86 percent during the 2000-09 period compared to 1970 -79. The 2010-15 period has maintained that yearly average, as well. I can only imagine Fox, CNN, and MSNBC blowing their sockets in 1970 which, alone, saw 553 terror incidents here. Sure, most of GTD’s cited terror acts are relatively benign, with no deaths and only few injuries, but those are the same baseline definitions over a 45-year frame.

No, we should not ignore Mr. Lee’s visions vis-a-vis ISIS terror. But just as we survived the Weather Underground and a long list of other domestic and foreign malcontents, if we remain true to what America has traditionally stood for, we will survive current travails.

Douglas Smith


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