Perceived Risk vs. Actual Risk
Good essay on perceived vs. actual risk. The hook is Mayor Daley of Chicago demanding a no-fly-zone over Chicago in the wake of the New York City airplane crash.
Other politicians (with the spectacular and notable exception of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) and self-appointed "experts" are jumping on the tragic accident -- repeat, accident -- in New York to sound off again about the "danger" of light aircraft, and how they must be regulated, restricted, banned.
OK, for all of those ranting about "threats" from GA aircraft, we'll believe that you're really serious about controlling "threats" when you call for:
- Banning all vans within cities. A small panel van was used in the first World Trade Center attack. The bomb, which weighed 1,500 pounds, killed six and injured 1,042.
- Banning all box trucks from cities. Timothy McVeigh's rented Ryder truck carried a 5,000-pound bomb that killed 168 in Oklahoma City.
- Banning all semi-trailer trucks. They can carry bombs weighing more than 50,000 pounds.
- Banning newspapers on subways. That's how the terrorists hid packages of sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway system. They killed 12.
- Banning backpacks on all buses and subways. That's how the terrorists got the bombs into the London subway system. They killed 52.
- Banning all cell phones on trains. That's how they detonated the bombs in backpacks placed on commuter trains in Madrid. They killed 191.
- Banning all small pleasure boats on public waterways. That's how terrorists attacked the USS Cole, killing 17.
- Banning all heavy or bulky clothing in all public places. That's how suicide bombers hide their murderous charges. Thousands killed.
Number of people killed by a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? Zero.
Number of people injured by a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? Zero.
Property damage from a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? None.
So Mr. Mayor (and Mr. Governor, Ms. Senator, Mr. Congressman, and Mr. "Expert"), if you're truly serious about "protecting" the public, advocate all of the bans I've listed above. Using the "logic" you apply to general aviation aircraft, you're forced to conclude that newspapers, winter coats, cell phones, backpacks, trucks, and boats all pose much greater risks to the public.
So be consistent in your logic. If you are dead set on restricting a personal transportation system that carries more passengers than any single airline, reaches more American cities than all the airlines combined, provides employment for 1.3 million American citizens and $160 billion in business "to protect the public," then restrict or control every other transportation system that the terrorists have demonstrated they can use to kill.
And, on the same topic, why it doesn't make sense to ban small aircraft from cities as a terrorism defense.
Posted on October 23, 2006 at 10:01 AM • 66 Comments