How the Media Influences Our Fear of Terrorism

Good article that crunches the data and shows that the press's coverage of terrorism is disproportional to its comparative risk.

This isn't new. I've written about it before, and wrote about it more generally when I wrote about the psychology of risk, fear, and security. Basically, the issue is the availability heuristic. We tend to infer the probability of something by how easy it is to bring examples of the thing to mind. So if we can think of a lot of tiger attacks in our community, we infer that the risk is high. If we can't think of many lion attacks, we infer that the risk is low. But while this is a perfectly reasonable heuristic when living in small family groups in the East African highlands in 100,000 BC, it fails in the face of modern media. The media makes the rare seem more common by spending a lot of time talking about it. It's not the media's fault. By definition, news is "something that hardly ever happens." But when the coverage of terrorist deaths exceeds the coverage of homicides, we have a tendency to mistakenly inflate the risk of the former while discount the risk of the latter.

Our brains aren't very good at probability and risk analysis. We tend to exaggerate spectacular, strange and rare events, and downplay ordinary, familiar and common ones. We think rare risks are more common than they are. We fear them more than probability indicates we should.

There is a lot of psychological research that tries to explain this, but one of the key findings is this: People tend to base risk analysis more on stories than on data. Stories engage us at a much more visceral level, especially stories that are vivid, exciting or personally involving.

If a friend tells you about getting mugged in a foreign country, that story is more likely to affect how safe you feel traveling to that country than reading a page of abstract crime statistics will.

Novelty plus dread plus a good story equals overreaction.

It's not just murders. It's flying vs. driving: the former is much safer, but accidents are so more spectacular when they occur.

Posted on January 24, 2017 at 6:31 AM • 135 Comments

Comments

WmJanuary 24, 2017 6:57 AM

Too bad Bruce can't see "the data that shows that the liberal, New England negative coverage of gun ownership is disproportional to its comparative risk.".

rJanuary 24, 2017 7:12 AM

The parallel is that the media might be doing this to us with the Snowden disclosures, look at the headway Rolf Weber had vs the implementation of whatsapp(?).

Was or is Rolf a the same type of reverberant false then true information plant as I described in reference to republicans/Trump the other day?

;-(

Edward BrodeJanuary 24, 2017 7:22 AM

"It's not just murders. It's flying vs. driving: the former is much safer, but the latter is more spectacular when it occurs."

This doesn't actually make sense. I think you mean "but death by the former is more spectacular when it occurs than death by the latter"

LukasJanuary 24, 2017 7:23 AM

"It's flying vs. driving: the former is much safer, but the latter is more spectacular when it occurs."

I think the logic in this sentence got mangled a bit? Maybe it should be something like "It's flying vs. driving: the former is much safer, but when accidents do occur, they're much more spectacular."

NinjaJanuary 24, 2017 7:55 AM

And little by little, by overreacting and being scared of our shadows, in hopes of achieving perfect security, we are allowing unscrupulous people in power shave out hard earned rights and freedoms. Because terrorism! For the children! Because Russia! Because China! Because [insert bogeyman flavor of the day]!

AlanSJanuary 24, 2017 8:48 AM

@Bruce

"Our brains aren't very good at probability and risk analysis."

Does that explain why game theory is just so much bs?

Clive RobinsonJanuary 24, 2017 9:20 AM

@ r,

Thats a boogeyman too unless you have more info.

Are you saying you can sniff out a good bogey man?

From a dictionary near you,

bogey /ˈbəʊɡi/
noun
1, an evil or mischievous spirit.
2, a piece of nasal mucus.

Boogey however is a misspelling of boogie which often means to dance in a particular way.

You can blaim another blog reader for me now knowing this...

JoeJanuary 24, 2017 9:36 AM

This fear is enormous political capital. The statistics presented in the article is intended to show the disproportionate relationship between the risk of terrorism and its coverage. However the heightened perception of terrorism risk can misinterpret the risk comparison between terrorism and homicides in general. Instead of seeing how the risk of terrorism is low, it sees the risk of homicides as being really high.

Thus: "American carnage".

Clive RobinsonJanuary 24, 2017 9:41 AM

@ Bruce,

By definition, news is "something that hardly ever happens."

Only partly true. There are many things that hardly ever happen that are not news. Therefore to be news it needs another quality as well.

We talk of "good news" and "bad news" and the old saying "Bad news sells faster than hot cakes" should give a jaundiced view of what journalists have found out over several hundred years.

Just as many jokes have hurt / pain and superiority in them so does bad news.

That is there is something almost trible in the way we humans take vicarious pleasure in finding out about hurt / pain in others we do not know. In quite a large part because it plays to our inate smugness and sense of superiority and self importance. Like "arm chair quater backs" we know it was the persons fault because they made a "poor play" which obviously there is no way we would have made in the same or sinilar situation...

It's part of the brains way of rationalising away the effects of random probability. However as accident statistics show, by and large we don't learn from others misfortune be it their own fault or not. Because our self righteous superiority blocks that. Call it a form of Dunning-Kruger but that is the way it is for most humans...

Thus as journalists those who present such bad news, usually do it in a way that makes the superiority easy to feel. When they don't or can not that's when we feel disquiet and uncertainty, thus become easy pray to bold but meaningless political statments and other grandstanding.

Pot and KettleJanuary 24, 2017 10:37 AM

What they say is propaganda, what he says is fake news, what I say is the truth.

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 11:26 AM

@Wm, spot on. Hoplophobes and the Gods-Must-Be-Crazy style primitives imbue an inanimate object with powers and dangers far in excess of reality. The vaunted 4th Estate virtually ignores hundreds of thousands of deaths by medical error each year. If you use medical services or drive a car, you minimize the actual risks, or purposely stay ignorant of the preventable death data, because you don't want to hear it.

parabarbarianJanuary 24, 2017 11:45 AM

Choosing to drive over flying is not as irrational as common knowledge portrays it to be. There is a difference between what everybody knows about flying and how the professional risk takers evaluate the risks. The aviation industry generally likes the deaths per passenger-kilometer (or passenger-mile) statistic because it looks good in print and that is the statistic everybody hears. However, those who insure the aviation industry against liability base their calculations on the deaths per journey statistic which paints an very different picture. In fact on a per journey basis, cars are safer than planes. Still not a perfect like-to-like comparison but food for thought.

Peter S. ShenkinJanuary 24, 2017 11:59 AM

So now "media" is a singular noun? (That is a threat to my sense of security.)

someoneJanuary 24, 2017 12:18 PM

Hey, I agree, but please don't use the driving vs. plane example as it is more complex than people might think.

DISCLAIMER: I live in Europe and have a couple of friend in the US that I visit more than once a year, so I don't think I can afford to be paranoid about flying.


But: How dangerous flying is vs other forms of transportation really depends on the way you calculate it and what kinds of flights you take.

Flights in general have one thing in common. Accidents are most likely to happen at landing and take off. Once you have reached a certain altitude things become a lot more secure.

This leads to a situation that is interesting for statics. Flights, especially when they are far (inter-continental) are really secure. The further you go the more secure the flight is per mile. So statistically shorter flights are way less secure and of course if you change the way you measure things and do a per use calculation using the plane is actually way less secure than using the car.

Of course you can also adapt the calculation on how many people die, how often people fly in average, and so on.

Other environmental factors also make differences. For example how secure is being at the airport, how secure is boarding, and getting off the plane, as well as the fact that to go to and from airports people frequently use cars, etc. One could do things like "time spent in a car" vs "time spent in a plane", but again you have to compare a car in a city, on the high way or out in the desert of Nevada.

In the end I think that driving a car and using a plane are too different from each other and that the main fallacy here is to think that a per mile or per use calculation are making a lot of sense and that an individual makes a good decision on either risk estimation. Both of them are "unfair".

That's why I think there are better comparisons.

(sorry to be that guy)

AnuraJanuary 24, 2017 12:23 PM

@someone

Hey, I agree, but please don't use the driving vs. plane example as it is more complex than people might think.

DISCLAIMER: I live in Europe and have a couple of friend in the US that I visit more than once a year, so I don't think I can afford to be paranoid about flying.

But do you ever *drive* to the US? I thought not. See? Flying is just safer. QED.

AJWMJanuary 24, 2017 12:33 PM

It's not the media's fault.

Yeah, it is. The media (most of it) makes its money by selling advertising. Advertisers tout their products as things that will make you feel good (one way or another). If you feel bad (uncertain, in fear, worried, angry) about the world because of the stories the media is telling you, you are (at the margin) more likely to buy the advertiser's products.

This is nothing new. Don Henley wrote about it in his song "Dirty Laundry" back in the 1980, and it's appeared many other places. There's more too it than just that, of course, but in general the media goes for what pulls in eyes for advertisers, what confirms the biases of the "reporters", and what seems to be popular (bandwagon effect).

Want to lower your blood pressure? Stop watching the news and reading the newspaper (and for ghu's sake, don't get your "news" from social media).

Jen Gold StockholmJanuary 24, 2017 12:55 PM

doctors, or medical intervention, is the number one leading cause of fatalaties both in the US and worldwide. according to actual US gov. statistics


just for context , or 'just saying' as das keiner likes to sign :-)


JasonRJanuary 24, 2017 12:58 PM

@Oydenos - By that logic, requiring all cars to have breathalyzer-controlled ignition systems would save an equal number of lives vs. firearm homicides in the US. We know an average of 10,000 people will die each year in the US due to drunk driving. It happens, every single year, guaranteed, this will occur (give or take a few hundred). We can easily control that all new cars have this feature, and we can require retrofitting of older cars beyond X years of adoption of such a law.

But, the news plays up the fears of how often these shooting occur, and drunk driving is so common, it is only reported locally and even then usually only when someone tragic has died (pretty girl, entire family, young kids). Another difference is that hoplophobes want to own and drive their cars without the hassle of such a device (and some of them even drive when not 100% sober). The truth is they just don't want others owning a device they are afraid of (hoplophobia). If they really thought it through, they should be more afraid of drunk drivers.

AnuraJanuary 24, 2017 1:19 PM

@JasonR

I would gladly support a ban on handguns, and I personally own handguns. Reducing your opponents beliefs about subjects as complicated as gun control, traffic accidents, and drugs to a psuedo-intellectual argument about their psychology tends to out you as someone who is talking out of their ass.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 24, 2017 2:25 PM

@ JasonR,

The truth is they just don't want others owning a device they are afraid of (hoplophobia).

The problem is the person who thought up that term back in 62 was an idiot, who understood little about very much.

His argument was basically that people who did not like guns had a mental disorder, based on some kind of belief that guns had free will.

The truth is guns are tools, and agnostic to their use. Whilst they do not have free will they are mechanical devices subject to ill use and only moderatly predictable failure modes due to use and maintenance or lack there of.

One of the biggest problems the military have with weapons during peace time is negligence by those using them. It is orders of magnitude worse in civilian life. With idiots adjusting trigger tension down to fractions of the design tolerances such that guns double tap or discharge without a finger on the trigger etc. Also people walking around with guns with the safety devices off so that they can squeeze one off faster when hunting. Home loaders putting out of spec quantities of powder in cartridges and all maner of other abuses.

So whilst guns have neither a mind nor free will they can be very unpredictable in use, especialy in some hands. A point retired Marine Colonel Jeff Cooper failed repeatedly to acknowledge.

Maybe there is a reason why they call marines "jar heads", could it be that a jar is transparent thus visibly empty like the Colonel's head?

rJanuary 24, 2017 2:35 PM

@Anura,

Road ragers make me want to pit maneuver them, but you can't fight fire with fire you just have to hope that they're going to get into a roll over accident by themselves and die a horrible death that their shithead testosterone junkie children with recognize for what it is.

Death by Pokemon Go.

@Clive,

No, I'm just trying to stretch the elastic holding the wool together and thanks.

trsm.mckayJanuary 24, 2017 3:06 PM

@ Clive

There are many physiological experiments and studies that show people become unconsciously more aggressive in the presence of a gun, even when the gun is not overtly a threat. So while guns don't have freewill, they can affect how people use and react to them.

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 3:17 PM

@JasonR, exactly.

@Anura, you're a hand gun owner but you would gleefully relinquish it just so no one else can have one (except criminals, of course, who *will* have guns come hell or high water)? I call BS. No real believer in the 2d Amendment is eager to give away their Constitutionally Protected Right just to appease the weak, foolish and easily manipulated. You are the sort who illustrate perfectly the phenomena of someone who believes the inflammatory and florid prose being passed off as news reporting by the left.

This is America, where you have the right to be wrong. Everyone is responsible for their acts or omissions. You have the right to consider them inadequate, incompetent or plain stupid. But you don't get to remove their rights just because you don't like how your fellow citizen conducts their life. I don't like how you drive. I think you're reckless and a threat to the public. How would you like it if by merely offering to give up my car, yours is taken away?

We tried prohibition and it failed (which era, by the way, spawned Al Capone, which spawned the NFA, which oppressed lawful citizens while barely bothering criminals). The object of Volstead's wrath was not even a right, protected or not.

Look up this date: April 19, 1775.

If you think I'm going to let you disarm my mother, wife or daughter, you've got another think coming.

@trsm.mckay, blaming a gun or a car for how you behave is usually what primitives do when they can't figure out why their crops failed. Only those with poor impulse control and immature logic act and react badly. We call them teenagers. It is the job of adults to teach kids how to handle guns and cars. When done properly, the kids live to be responsible gun and car owning adults. It happens by the millions in America every day.

Apologies to the host, this reply to the off-topic comment should have waited for this Friday's squid blog.

My InfoJanuary 24, 2017 3:24 PM

@Clive Robinson

So whilst guns have neither a mind nor free will they can be very unpredictable in use, especialy in some hands.

In some hands but not others.

That is a very severe judgment to make.

Especially when "straight" people are allowed to own firearms, but LGBT are not. Remember, homosexual and transgender conditions are cloaked in psychobabble and treated as mental illnesses to this day. Next it is Blacks who are not allowed to own firearms, or Jews, or women, or those with brown eyes or dark hair, or the physically handicapped....

Do you see where we are going with this?

The Übermensch is allowed to own firearms, but the Untermensch is not.

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 3:32 PM

@Clive, there is a specific name for specific phobias of a huge variety. Why should guns be exempted? Unfortunately, the term xxxxx-phobia has been co-opted by the animated, ignorant public pell mell lately and they use it as a pejorative. If you fear an object without even having touched one, been around one, without knowing their operation, history or advantage and disadvantages, then you suffer an unhealthy fear of them. Until we hold people responsible for their individual negligent/criminal acts and omissions with guns, hoplophobes and nearly-so will continue to fixate on the object as if zombie voodoo. Try science, please.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 24, 2017 3:38 PM

@ Jen Gold Stockholm,

doctors, or medical intervention, is the number one leading cause of fatalaties both in the US and worldwide.

There is a problem behind those statistics known by some as "The last touch rule"...

To see how it works, just assume for a moment there has been a car accident due to a cat or dog running in front of a car and the driver swerved and unfortunatly ended up with their car wrapped around a lamp post with first responders cutting them out.

If the driver died on impact or before abybody assisted then it's a traffic fatality. However if a first responder touches them then the potential for negligence arises. Even though they would have died as a traffic fatality if the first responders had been delayed. If however the first responder gets the driver out into the care of an ambulance trauma technician, then the negligence pointer moves from the first responder to the technician. And so on down the line the driver becomes a hot potato problem that gets passed as quickly as possible up the line.

The simple fact is the driver is going to die at some point, the only question is if the next person up the line can pass them on up one more rung of the ladder or get them off of the ladder entirely before the inevitable happens at some future point, where they become a "death by natural causes" in bed at home etc.

The fact you had a hand on the person when they died is not evidence you killed them, although that is what some legal types would have you believe.

Interestingly it's not the same when somebody dies after a crime, the death is often attributed to the criminal no matter what has happened to the victim after the criminal commited the crime.

Thus the issue is not of somebody dying as happens all the time, but others seeking culpability due to negligence etc, because there is potentialy money to be made in so doing etc...

This leads to an interesting problem, I have a physiological issue that could be significantly improved by what is in effect minor surgery. However due to other risk factors surgeons do not want to take the risk of me dying on the table (actually chair as it's keyhole work). Thus statistically my life expectancy is down graded because the surgeons will not carry out the operation. Thus arguably I am going to die earlier than I otherwise might because of their non performance...

AnuraJanuary 24, 2017 3:47 PM

@Iggy

No real believer in the 2d Amendment

No, I'm definitely not a big fan of the divinity of laws.


I'm not against gun ownership, I'm just not against banning them. I just plain don't give a shit if people can't own handguns. As for whether or not criminals will have them, well, they get confiscated and ditched all the time - without a new supply, the old supply dries up and the homicide rate goes down. It also significantly limits heat of the moment killings. So yeah, for a very minor regulation on guns, you will save a very large number of lives.

Now, I don't think that's the best solution. I think if we fixed our underlying social problems then gun control would not be necessary, but I could be wrong. Since those with wealth are against any solution that would actually fix our underlying social problems (sorry, it may not be a fixed pie, but it's a resource-constrained pie and outcomes matter), it's never going to happen, however the people do have the power to ban handguns, so it'll have to do.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 24, 2017 3:52 PM

@ My Info,

That is a very severe judgment to make.

Yes and no, it depends on how you apply it, ie in a discriminatory or nondiscriminatory way.

In the UK you are not alowed to own fire arms unless you are over a certain age, and hand guns (except for historical ones) can not be owned privately.

The UK handgun rule is a blanket one with the only exception being those used for "National Security" organisations (military / police etc). Thus it is not discriminatory in it's enforcment as it applies equally to all.

What you have described however sounds discriminatory against minorities as there is no apparent valid scientific or medical reasoning behind it from what you say.

TedJanuary 24, 2017 4:07 PM

From Bruce's essay “The Psychology of Security (Part 1)

"Assessing and reacting to risk is one of the most important things a living creature has to deal with, and there's a very primitive part of the brain that has that job. It's the amygdala, and it sits right above the brainstem, in what's called the medial temporal lobe."

Phenomenally good writings. Until someone has the experience (or perception) of a life-threatening event, it is hard to fully grasp the body’s visceral response. I have been surprised and relieved to learn that many resources for managing trauma prescribe techniques to reclaim the body's arousal system. As reiterated by Steven Johnson in the above essay, the body's overriding circuitry for remembering and responding to powerful experiences can feel alien and humbling to say the least.

As a balancing point to the high level of coverage provided to traumatic events, I couldn't help but feel a sense of gratitude for the quality and measure of the coverage and process under girding the senate's confirmation hearing of CIA director Mike Pompeo. The event's orderly, analytical, and in-depth evaluation of both the CIA's mission and Mr. Pompeo's experiences was educational and refreshing. For all the C-SPAN / CIA enthusiasts:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?422416-1/us-senate-votes-6632-confirm-mike-pompeo-cia-director

NedJanuary 24, 2017 4:35 PM

Ted, did the educational and refreshing orderly, analytical, and in-depth evaluation include this stuff?

https://www.therenditionproject.org.uk/documents/index.html
https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/cia-torture/
https://www.icc-cpi.int//Pages/item.aspx?name=pr1252

Because Pompeo's going to have to pull Alfreda Frances Bikowski's tit out of the crimes-against-humanity wringer, along with Jeffrey Castelli and 2/3 of the SIS cohort. Their amygdalas are going to be throbbing as they contemplate universal jurisdiction charges with no statute of limitations. Pompeo's got to find more virgins to throw into the volcano. Sabrina de Souza is not going to be enough.

rJanuary 24, 2017 4:37 PM

@Anura,

And then comes 3d printing, supply will never dry up. Taking accessibility away from law abiding citizens doesn't solve the problem in the least, maybe tightening it up a little will help but it's a huge risk and worth quite a bit of a discussion before any move is made.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people - and without guns we'll just invent another way to spread fear and hostility around the globe without addressing the real problems underneath certain criminal activities.

Discussion is good, but chances are you're (not you specifically) not conconvincing anyone.

rJanuary 24, 2017 4:37 PM

The answer to less guns is complex socioeconomic solutions and a police state, I'm not eager for the latter.

rJanuary 24, 2017 4:43 PM

What's to stop me from creating a flame thrower out of denatured alcohol and pvc? Or weaponizing drones for wallet theft? Or propane canister grenades? "I have a bomb" written on paper. Taking the means of qualified defense away from semi-trained civilians is not a solution it's a mess waiting to happen.

Believe me when I tell you if I can print a lower receiver from an aluminum block there's nothing to stop a millwright from becoming a millwrong and developing a gps guided mortar system for the back of a pickup.

Shit is not going to get better before it gets worse, having a locked gun in your safe or a finger-print/biometrically locked gun under your pillow is not a concern we should be addressing in the face of organized human trafficing and wanton murder.

Fear mongering aside, let me double down on the "come at me bro" concept stated above and elsewhere. You're not going to get people who even might believe that humans are innately good to believe that there's not random acts of evil and violence outside of their windows at night.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 24, 2017 4:48 PM

@ trsm.mckay,

So while guns don't have freewill, they can affect how people use and react to them.

And that is the point that a number of people try to deny including that retired marine back in 62.

I used to wear the green and was taught that if somebody is pointing a gun at you, you can surmise that they are not doing it without the intent to shoot you. Likewise I was taught to use a gun on a farm and was always taught that you only point a gun at what you intend to shoot.

That is guns are not toys or stage props, they are tools with an intended purpose, which is to use kinetic energy to deliver a bullet into a target.

Your job is not to second guess if the gun is loaded, if a round is chambered, if the gun is cocked, if the safety is off or if the gun is correctly adjusted and maintained. Nor to judge if the person holding the gun is physicaly capable of firing it or not, nor if the state of their mind is sound or not. Your job is to be alive and well at the end of the encounter.

Thus if someone points a gun at me I asume they have every intention to use it, thus my task is to nullify that intention as quickly and effectively as possible.

Thus for the sake of peace, quiet and minimal harm to others I would rather that there were no guns around me except in the appropriate designated places like shooting ranges or if hunting etc not pointed at me or others.

Now if that means other people think I have an irrational fear of guns, that is their foolish projection onto me not the actual reality.

My response to them would be "As you don't walk in the freeway when there is oncoming fast traffic is that because you have an irrational fear of vehicles and their drivers?".

@ iggy,

If you fear an object without even having touched one, been around one, without knowing their operation, history or advantage and disadvantages, then you suffer an unhealthy fear of them.

Oh dear what a very unscientific and irrational thing to say.

One of the first rules of chemistry is to assume every unknown compound is dangerous unless you can show otherwise, that way you tend to live a little longer.

The same applies to foraging for mushrooms and other wild foods etc. Likewise with water in streams rivers and lakes. Cautious fear of the unknown is a survival trait, the opposit is a recipe for an early grave.

As the old saw has it "Fools rush in where angels fear to tred".

rJanuary 24, 2017 4:49 PM

@Anura,

Did you ever see the link @Clive provided about popping in-wall ATM's with acetylene ?

While I didn't see it here first (I suspect a link from @Krebs) it's definately something to chew on for a bit before you start to infringe on the people who lack an imagination. What's to stop us from making pvc/co2 powered tranq guns with ghb or chloroform?

People were making feradyne cages out of steel mesh and 3/4ton uhauls for atm "withdrawls", you're not going to stop anything with that type of "omg think of the children" response.

It's panic, and panic in an emergency == death.

rJanuary 24, 2017 4:52 PM

Grab your gun, follow the rules and by all means make sure you have respect for others.

Unstable people, the shitheads that GM should be snitching out for aggressive driving - shouldn't have weapons. They shouldn't even be allowed to drive.

If you want to address gun ownership, target the unstable aspects of society.

rJanuary 24, 2017 4:57 PM

Now lol,

Now the terrorists are hijacking polish truck drivers with butterknives and commandeering their 53' trailer.

Taking guns away from law abiding people will only aid terrorism in the face of 5+ minute police responses. In some areas you can wait 30+ minutes.

Do you want you daughter to wait?

Your wife?

How about you?

3 people outside your downstairs window and now they've just smashed the glass above your doorlocks.

Do you wait for a response?

What if it never comes?

What then?

AnuraJanuary 24, 2017 5:01 PM

@r

We know because there is not an epidemic of murders with improvised destructive devices outside of actual war, terrorism, and gang wars anywhere in the world and even then they are used significantly less than guns. It's not about making it impossible to kill someone, it's about reducing deaths and a lot more people will survive if people stab their spouses and robbery victims rather than shooting them. Some might make improvised guns, sure, but for the most part it will remain the realm of hobbyists. Yeah, so there are a bunch of hypothetical scenarios where it would accomplish nothing, but we know from experience that those hypothetical scenarios aren't common. It's not perfect, or preferred, but too many people are still dying to do nothing at all.

Dirk PraetJanuary 24, 2017 5:08 PM

People tend to base risk analysis more on stories than on data.

Facts and data, however boring or inconvenient, are news. Stories, real or made up, are entertainment. Any journalist worthy of that name should be able to differentiate between the two. Especially when it comes to "alternative facts" as presented by government officials and their spokespeople.

@ Iggy

There is a specific name for specific phobias of a huge variety. Why should guns be exempted?

Most phobias are associated with some sort of mental illness or dysfunction. Being pro gun control is nothing of the kind, and making a phobia out of it is exactly what it implies. Personally, I don't care too much for guns, but I know how to use them. I'm a reasonably good shot, but I like knives much better. Still I'm very happy with the restrictive gun legislation we have here in Europe.

Over time, I've stopped discussing the issue with Americans. Please feel free to shoot each other to your hearts liking. But at least try to understand why other countries don't have the same kind of gun attitude instead of calling it a mental condition. It's insulting.

rJanuary 24, 2017 5:14 PM

Knives are not constitutionally protected, that's part of the reticence #1. #2 there are liability issues with maiming brother, this is a very complex subject. Take guns away from those who are found to not be able to wield them appropriately, as for the rest - it's their gun - infringe at your own risk.

There are areas in michigan where I can get 90days - 5 years for the possession of a knife with the "intent" to use it as defense instead of "hunting".

These are very muddied waters, and I agree that progress needs to be made but it must be acknowledged that the priority is to not reduce protections but to reduce what are outright slayings and strong armed robberies.

My response to your assertion? "Not yet."

The truck thing is just starting, and we're just now warming up the drones.

rJanuary 24, 2017 5:17 PM

People die from poverty, from culture, from ignorance blight and malice. Guns aren't on that list, they're a tool for the slighted the disenfranchised and the evil - taking them away from the good is not an option.

Address the economic issues behind the largest motivators of robbery before you try to address whatever tool the downtrodden use to express themselves.

AJWMJanuary 24, 2017 5:19 PM

@Clive Robinson
With idiots adjusting trigger tension down to fractions of the design tolerances such that guns double tap or discharge without a finger on the trigger etc. Also people walking around with guns with the safety devices off so that they can squeeze one off faster when hunting. Home loaders putting out of spec quantities of powder in cartridges and all maner of other abuses.

While I have no doubt that there are idiots who do such things, by far the greatest failure mode in my experience is failure to fire, followed by extraction jams. The former, often as not, is caused by poor cleaning slowing down the impact of the pin on the primer (leaving a dented primer). (The latter might also be attributed to dirty actions, or sub-par ammo.)

I've witnessed exactly two unintentional discharges in my time in the army and years of recreational shooting. One was somebody clearing a weapon that turned out to not be as clear as he thought (but it was pointed in a safe direction, no harm done). The other was a bit more exciting: the safety sear on a (military) FN-C1A1 failed and the rifle went full auto until the magazine was empty. Again, the weapon was pointed downrange, no harm done (except to adrenaline levels).

I'm far more worried about somebody intentionally discharging a firearm in my direction (which has happened quite a bit, but mostly with a few feet of dirt and concrete between me and the shooter, and the times not, with blanks) than I am about some accidental discharge. And I generally don't worry about the former at all. (There was one time when the cops pulled over a car driven by a couple of guys who'd just robbed a bank, and I happened to be standing on the sidewalk a few feet downrange of the bad guys with no cover handy. Cops had weapons drawn. Bad guys sensibly surrendered while I sidled out of the line of fire.)

rJanuary 24, 2017 5:20 PM

People wont be killing each other nearly as much when you can't make minimum wage+++ selling sacks of weed or lines of cocaine and have to worry about life in prison.

Like I said, it's a very complex topic - a REAL discussion is required far prior to legislation and I agree that labeling those concerned about guns as "off keel" is not a productive measure either.

It is a reasonable question to be asking, but are there other ways that this can be done without disabling the features that may actually help you in the end. I'm not giving up my guns or on this discussion any time soon, and I'm not deflecting either.

I was 50ft from being robbed the other night, I'll be back in a few.

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 5:23 PM

@Anura, “No, I'm definitely not a big fan of the divinity of laws.”

Yes, you are, for how would you effectuate a ban without them. Our Constitution protects our natural rights as in the Bill of Rights, a part of which is the 1st and 2nd Amendments. Without the 2nd the 1st would evaporate overnight.

“I'm not against gun ownership, I'm just not against banning them.”

You're schizophrenic and so are you?

Support your assertions with actual facts, science, empirical evidence or put your fingers back in your ears and continue not giving a shit. You categorically dismiss human nature, especially criminal human nature.

Here's a link for you to chew on while you try to dig up proof of what you claim: from the CDC, ordered by Obama, ignored by the regressive lefty media, enjoy:

https://www.nap.edu/catalog/18319/priorities-for-research-to-reduce-the-threat-of-firearm-related-violence

We have thousands of gun laws on the books against guns from coast to coast. Those are not “very minor regulations.” You would cry long and loud if the same depth and breadth of regulation were attached to your speech. If not, China may be more your speed. Seriously. They belittle their own people as not capable of having rights correctly, too.

Banning handguns will never happen in America. Never.

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 5:32 PM

@Clive, “Oh dear what a very unscientific and irrational thing to say.”

It may not be PDR quality paraphrasing but irrational? Cool story bro.

My InfoJanuary 24, 2017 5:33 PM

Knives are not constitutionally protected, that's part of the reticence #1.

Hmm. Arms vs. firearms. How is that?

rJanuary 24, 2017 5:36 PM

It's the encryption argument, who's your Nanny?

You're not going to stop it, the best thing to do is to make sure that the people who do have guns can pass a bipartisan and externally consulted psyche test. P.S. Also consult GM/insurance companies/criminal records for reasonably excludable individuals.

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 5:47 PM

@Dirk Praet,

Of course medically diagnosed phobias merit medical treatment. Some irrational fear can be nearly phobic and not be considered worthy of treatment. Until a term exists to describe such gray area between non-disruptive and transient irrational fear and medically diagnosed phobia, hoplophobe will be used where it fits and when I use it, it is to save from having to type all of the above. Any one who wishes to ban guns just because they fear them and votes for anti-2nd Amendment public policy is, constructively, a hoplophobe.

Americans are equally insulted by Europeans who sneer down their noses at us as if murder is not happening in their countries. If you don't trust yourself to be a responsible adult with a firearm, then do not touch them. Leave it to the big boys who wear the long pants.

Stay in your ivory tower and pretend you are so much better than us. Your shit does stink and we can smell it way over here.

Salud!

albertJanuary 24, 2017 5:52 PM

"press's coverage of terrorism is disproportional to its comparative risk."

@Bruce, you are correct! Why?

@Anyone,
How many of your friends are seriously worried about terrorism? None of mine are. At least 20,000 Americans die in traffic accidents every year (it was 30,000 at one time), yet I don't know anyone who is afraid to drive.

The MSMs role is to -promote- the fear of terrorism. It's part of Gov't policy. There's a lot of money to be made. Such promotion make it easier to pass draconian 'anti-terrorism' laws. Those laws are versatile enough to be used against protesters and protest movements, critics of the gov't, discussions groups, and charitable NGOs, etc. The gov't appears to have unlimited funds to finance 'anti-terrorism' policy, include spy agencies, LE agencies, and the military (don't forget DOE contractors in military support roles)

Recent attacks in Europe have refueled the gravy train. If they (God forbid) continue, then the MSM will have plenty to talk about.

The question is this: What would happen if the terrorist attacks stopped? Who will feed the 'anti-terrorism' parasite within our system? Fake news won't handle this situation.

Only the real thing will do.

. .. . .. --- ....

rJanuary 24, 2017 5:53 PM

@albert,

Only the people in 'no york' that I'm aware of, it's the flipside of the "californian control" argument we heard earlier this month about "liberals".

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 6:01 PM

@r,

It sounds as if in your part of the world, one of the thousands of infringing laws is restricting free access to your 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. You can arm yourself with a knife so knives are covered by the 2nd. Knives, spears, swords all pre-date guns and they were fashioned by our big brain selves for self-defense and hunting just like guns. That we also use them to make war and commit crime--to a much lesser but more publicized degree--is a byproduct of our free will.

We pay a price for freedom. Americans are not happy about the price but we will pay it rather than be victimized, oppressed or tyrannized.

Until we uniformly raise better humans who prize innocent human life as soon as our hands are big enough to form a first or strangle a neck or hold a knife or pull a trigger or throw a car into Drive, we will continue to kill each other without meaning to or because we feel like it.

rJanuary 24, 2017 6:04 PM

There's too many liability issues, I'd much rather unload a clip and be done with it than have to worry about listening to someone groan about how they're sorry they ever entered my house and tried to rape my daughter.

I'm over it, it's unwise to enter property one does not control.

Who do you think would get screwed if I left bear traps inside my house?

rJanuary 24, 2017 6:09 PM

"omg my son is handicapped following a bunch of thugs into your bedroom and you paralyzed him, he's a simple misled boy."

Now some hardworking family loses their savings, their shelter because society or some parent's failed their children.

Knives are not an option where you can sue me for damages incurred on my property, not an option at all.

Chloroform?

Precise measurements are required.

Taser? He drank too many monsters or was some bobo fat kid and had a heart attack that required hospitalization for a week and a half?

Who's footing the bill then?

I didn't break into your house, why should I pay?

rJanuary 24, 2017 6:12 PM

@Iggy,

"Up to 3.5 inches" I believe, additionally some areas are "no knives" at all the way I understand it.

Schools across the country ban finger nail clippers.

Panic and fear == death.

rJanuary 24, 2017 6:24 PM

@Iggy, My info

I'm careful with the "arms" argument, guns are one thing - full fledged nuclear weapons and mortars are another.

I take the narrow road where arms are concerned because I don't want to lose that protection/concession, I think it would be wise for others to follow that lead also.

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 6:29 PM

@albert, “How many of your friends are seriously worried about terrorism? None of mine are. At least 20,000 Americans die in traffic accidents every year (it was 30,000 at one time), yet I don't know anyone who is afraid to drive.”

Probably about as many who worry about fire: rare on a day to day, personal, basis but an event destructive enough to merit keeping a fire extinguisher handy all the same. Fear is subjective and everyone has the right to call it as they see it for themselves. Were you raised to be attuned to your environment, or not? Were you raised to gather empirical evidence to determine if your assessment is accurate, or not? Do you live in a hot zone? Are you a chicken little or a thrill seeker?

I remember when the kind of terrorism we are much more sensitive to since 9/11 was virtually unreported. Will terrorism go extinct? What do you think?

“Fake news” is not new but it is getting fresh push back lately. I've been tired of the MSM for easily 20 years and counting. They'd earn back my willingness to give them the benefit of the doubt if they would actually stop rejecting our criticism and admit they've been wrong. Until they do, I will continue to laugh at their faux outrage performances for ratings and do my own source hopping to figure out the real news for myself on those issues that matter most.

BTW, traffic fatality numbers fluctuate year to year, they do not trend up or down in a straight line. So while gun grabbers love to point at traffic when it is down from the previous year, they ignore it when it goes back up the following year. And they love to lump in suicides in the 33K figure when the true number is 11K. They could not care less about how to stop suicides.

I also have stopped making Hollywood richer so they can berate and insult me inside their art forms as if I'm too stupid to notice and I'm too weak to give them my back. Meryl Streep and her ilk get no more of my time or money. They need to suffer like we do.

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 6:37 PM

@r,

Panic kills, so true.

Of course the 2nd Amendment protects arms that a human can bear, not nuclear warheads or MOABs. Har. Gun grabbers tend to use the slippery slope logical fallacy to try to wrap a tight fence around our right such that it's inside our shorts, while we all know it was meant to make it easy for us to arm ourselves against any attack without encumbrance. Easy, not hard.

rJanuary 24, 2017 6:42 PM

The hollywood people are clickjacking your mind just as much as the alt-right, recognize it. Recognize rights, recognize protections, recognize things that bring us all up, make us better or better off and recognize that no matter how well motivated or well-intending there's still nightmare scenarios.

I don't see why you're railing against Hollywood or the MSM other than you're sick of the "L" word, get over it you live in a multifaceted community and learn to exist within that framework. You'll always have pushback from the other grasshoppers trapped in the jar right along with you.

Clickjacking lol

Click Click Click Ignoramus.

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 6:49 PM

@r, just when I started to like you, your rabies starts dripping off your chin. Nurse, time for r's injection! Hahahahahahaha

IggyJanuary 24, 2017 6:56 PM

Shhhhh, r is having a meltdown in the comment section of a very nice guy's security site, pretending to be unaware of his whipsaw mental anthrax. Let's watch!

AndyJanuary 24, 2017 7:52 PM

It's funny, in my opinion both iggy and r are correct, and seem to be different people, but it's more than the top of the tree, left or right, r has high logic that goes far, iggy a tosser that has life experience.

If body reaction are used to workout the mean of speech and autism don't have that ability does the internet make them equal

Shot I could go on...

AnuraJanuary 24, 2017 8:16 PM

@Iggy

Yes, you are, for how would you effectuate a ban without them.

Laws are mutable, and I do not give a shit what they say when I'm advocating changing laws. Constitution worship is even worse than founding father worship. Undying devotion to symbols of American greatness are the cornerstones of US authoritarian propaganda.

Support your assertions with actual facts, science, empirical evidence or put your fingers back in your ears and continue not giving a shit.

Yes, I post my reference, then you post yours, then I post mine, and all of it shows small, inconclusive correlations what they are trying to study, and on top of that next to none of them are relevant to a complete handgun ban across the entire country. I've been in those discussions before, they are never productive.

We have thousands of gun laws on the books against guns from coast to coast. Those are not “very minor regulations.”

I didn't call for thousands of regulations, I called for a handgun ban. But yeah, I mean, if it fits your narrative.

Jen Gold StockholmJanuary 24, 2017 8:17 PM

@ Clive
This leads to an interesting problem, I have a physiological issue that could be significantly improved by what is in effect minor surgery. However due to other risk factors surgeons do not want to take the risk of me dying on the table (actually chair as it's keyhole work). Thus statistically my life expectancy is down graded because the surgeons will not carry out the operation. Thus arguably I am going to die earlier than I otherwise might because of their non performance...


thank you for the rational response re: Stats and Docs. Makes sense. & I am indeed sad to learn of your situation as described above for you deserve so much better and hope that you may be open to investigating the two therapies I described that can indeed cure much, with minimal to no direct intervention and minimal cost comparatively. Message via squid if you'd like more info

Jen Gold StockholmJanuary 24, 2017 8:22 PM

united statesians talking about guns is soooo boring, with the invariable reference to the so called golden sovreign right constitution 'B-b-b-but, but I'm an American!' amazing how easily a thread can be taken over and twisted onto this topic again . anyone outside the united states of a part of a part of America, really wonders what is going on with you folk.
or is the denial of service trolls stepping in anytime Bruce mentions something really important?

WaelJanuary 24, 2017 9:01 PM

@Clive Robinson,

Thus arguably I am going to die earlier than I otherwise might because of their non performance...

No one dies before his or her time. Not a second earlier, not second later. Besides, how long do you want to live for? 733+ years isn't enough? See how subtle I move into the topic of terrorism?

Carrying on: Trying to break Noah's record?

PS: Happy 734th birthday!

For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a bonnie good fellow...

WaelJanuary 24, 2017 9:21 PM

How the Media Influences Our Fear of Terrorism

The other interesting title is: "Why the Media Influences Our Fear of Terrorism"

That'll be a more subjective topic. As we know, scientists care about the "how". They don't care about the "why" or the "purpose".

WaelJanuary 24, 2017 9:25 PM

@Clive Robinson,

However due to other risk factors surgeons do not want to take the risk of me dying on the table

Surgeons in the US are willing to take more risk than thier counterparts in the U.K.

My InfoJanuary 24, 2017 9:38 PM

There used to be some sort of PI firm or non-profit or association called the Insurance Investigation Institute (III) or something like that, but it gets confused with the "Insurance Information Institute," which seems to be the version of the acronym they put out for public consumption nowadays, or even the recently renamed "Insurance Institute of India."

I guess there are quite a few of them, anyways.

It reminds me of the suspected arson that took place at my old workplace in Battle Ground, Washington, in retaliation for our ratting out a couple of colonels in the Army for disbursing Army funds in excess of $5,000 to a contractor not properly bonded for payment and performance, which happens to be a felony under the Miller Act. The colonels apparently got a dishonorable discharge, and the insurance investigator claimed the fire started in the attic, whereas it was clear to me that it had started on the floor, more likely than not from some papers that were laid (why?) too close to an electric heater on the floor. The insurance investigator advised us to rebuild immediately, and when the neighbor's barn burned down shortly after that, there was a vague article in the local newspaper quoting some actuary who had commented that there were twice as many fires in town as usual that year.

Apparently the governor of the State of Washington at that time had approved that contract, but the generals next up in rank from those colonels in the Army had not. It was some sort of deal between the Army and the county to turn the Army's old heavy ordnance firing range at Camp Bonneville into a county park, and whereas we had been awarded a subcontract to clear brush in a certain, we learned later that that was part of a contract to clear unexploded ordnance from a much larger area that did include ours, for which reason the general contractor had failed to obtain a bond for the job under the Miller Act.

AnuraJanuary 24, 2017 9:49 PM

@Wael

That'll be a more subjective topic. As we know, scientists care about the "how". They don't care about the "why" or the "purpose".

Seriously? "Why?" is one of the question that has been driving science since the very beginning. Like "Why are some things solid and others liquid?" or "Why are dragonflies attracted to black tombstones?".

hmmJanuary 24, 2017 9:51 PM

heard plenty about planes, 9's, and automobiles
wonder how/why else media influences our (lack of) fear

WaelJanuary 24, 2017 10:14 PM

@Anura,

Seriously? "Why?"

Very good question,

"How" is measurable, testable, and verifiable, whereas "Why" is none of that.

Scientists are concerned with "how" the universe came into existence, not "why". "Why" implies a "purpose", and that... is outside the realm of science.

Why are some things solid and others liquid?"

This "why" is an iniquiry about the physical properties of the matter, not about the purpose of it's state.

This answer (in my opinion, as probably yours) is inadequate, so I'll need to sort it out in my mind.

tyrJanuary 24, 2017 10:17 PM


The 2nd amendment is the American response to
the question of should the government hold a
monopoly on violence?

The American answer has been NO since 1776.

It is a question that few other countries are
allowed to ask in all of the historical records.

Like most things inovolved with technologies
there is no such thing as a right answer forming
a panacea which will satisfy every personal odd
idiosyncracy on the subject.

Banning everything that makes people feel unsafe
is a sure path to a disastrous lack of a viable
future. Bound by too many strictures society will
lose the ability to respond in a meaningful way to
changes. If the future was deterministicly set in
concrete it might make sense to close off all the
options. Unfortunately we can still see the ruins
of previous systems that thought they had control
of the future.

The fact there are still debates about a technology
that has been around 850+ years should tip us off
to the minefield of argument about how to deal with
any technology.

SO frame the arguments in who gets the monopoly on
crypto, surveillance, personhood, reproduction, and
violence. Is it the individual or is it those elites
who govern you ?

What makes you safe is the good will and trust of
the strangers who surround you every day. The rest
is just primitive knee jerk animism preying on your
fears for some agenda you don't even have to be in
any way aware of.

The mythical fabric of society which trains and
divides on purpose to create folk who view each
other as untrustworthy and therefor must be jailed
and surveilled as an industry driving the economy
is a greater problem hidden behind the mask of a
benevolent educated cabal. It is all done for your
own good, obviously you couldn't be trusted to make
decisions involving you when there are experts who
know better available to do it for you. At a price.

AnuraJanuary 24, 2017 10:21 PM

@Wael

Hmm... I'm willing to grant you clemency based on the ambiguity of the word "why".

AnuraJanuary 24, 2017 10:52 PM

@Wael

I'll check them out tomorrow. I have to exercise my rights as a Colorado citizen, and then watch Richard Spencer get punched in the face over and over and over again.

ab praeceptisJanuary 24, 2017 11:49 PM

Wael

"Why" implies a "purpose", and that... is outside the realm of science.

Not really. "Why" implies causality, not necessarily purpose/intention.

One reason to differentiate lies in the fact that we sill associate causality rather strongly with time - which may or may not make sense.

You are not completely wrong though and one might say:

How tells us about the mechanics (changing from state A to state B)
Why tells us about the causality (what caused the state change)
Why[purpose] introduces a mindful player with intentions (prefering state B over state A at a given point)

WaelJanuary 25, 2017 1:14 AM

@ab praeceptis,

Not really. "Why" implies causality, not necessarily purpose/intention.

"Why" implies both, and the distinction is normally understood from context and knowledge level of both questioner and questionee.

Take us on a ride and show us the "why" sequence of: "Why the Media Influences Our Fear of Terrorism". The mechanism (how) is the subject of this thread, the purpose (why) is what this question is about, and the "causality" is a trivial non-interesting question.

WaelJanuary 25, 2017 1:29 AM

By the way, "how" is also overloaded: How it affects the object, and how the subject uses it. No need to go there. It's an area fit for 'Slick Willie' to tackle.

ab praeceptisJanuary 25, 2017 1:51 AM

Wael

Haha, no, I won't accept that challenge. Too smelly, deep and ugly a rabbit hole. And way too much politics in there. I prefer to stick to technical matters (well, as long as I'm able to resist the temptation ... *g)

WaelJanuary 25, 2017 1:58 AM

key findings is this: People tend to base risk analysis more on stories than on data. Stories engage us at a much more visceral level, especially stories that are vivid, exciting or personally involving.

It works both ways. We use stories in extended threat modeling to drive the point through!

WaelJanuary 25, 2017 2:07 AM

@ab praeceptis,

Too smelly, deep and ugly a rabbit hole

Because it's a subjective topic.

And way too much politics in there.

More psychology than politics. The intent is to explore psychology to better understand security.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 25, 2017 3:16 AM

@ Wael,

Just to add a little more copper to the meltong pot,

Why is the "purpose" of an event.
How is the "mechanism" of an event.

The hard sciences are about mechanism the soft sciences tend towards the purpose.

Hence you ask of a suspect why they commited the crime (motive), whilst the forensics people show how the crime happened (means) with the temporal/geolocation (opportunity) being provided by eye witnesses.

Which brings us back to our earler conversation about other "something you know" authenticators that are not passphrases.

Funny how things can go in circles ;-)

rJanuary 25, 2017 3:27 AM

@ab,

Then "why" did you weigh in if not willing to play with the elasticity of the language?

"How" does that make you feel? Biting off more than you can apparently chew.

ab praeceptisJanuary 25, 2017 4:29 AM

r

Which part of "I do not discuss with the worst troll and spammer here" did you fail to understand?

WaelJanuary 25, 2017 4:42 AM

@Clive Robinson, @r,

Funny how things can go in circles ;-)

I once went with a colleague for lunch to a Mediterranean restaurant. I recconended the lamb kebabs because I had it on previous occasions and liked it.

So we started eating and I told him it tastes different, and my colleague agreed. It occurred to us that they guy gave us beef instead. So I went him with my half eaten sandwich. He was a grouchy fellow, so I had to be careful. My colleague stayed at the table but his eyes had tears from laughing at the conversation:

Me: We ordered lamb and it seems that we got the beef one
Cook: I know what you ordered, and that's what you got
Me: But it tastes different than every time
Cook: it's lamb
Me: well why does it taste like beef then?
Cook: God made it taste like beef
Me: I wanted the one that God made to taste like lamb
Cook: so you bite off half the sandwich then you tell me you it's not what you ordered?
Me: umm... we're late for work. Thank you, we need to go.

"why" questions are sometimes irritating.

Dirk PraetJanuary 25, 2017 5:54 AM

@ Iggy

Stay in your ivory tower and pretend you are so much better than us.

We do neither. I objected to the characterization of people in favour of gun control as suffering from some sort of mental disorder. In the former Soviet Union, it was also common practice to ship off certain types of political dissidents to psych wards.

The general consensus over here is that as long as a majority of the US population holds on to the sacrosanctity of gun ownership as defined in the 2nd Amendment, then the 30k+ gun deaths a year - whatever their statistical distribution - is the price they pay for it. However much as a nation you may find that acceptable, our mileage and approach of the issue significantly differs, even the mentioning of which invariably results in a specific class of gun proponents taking offense and engaging in name calling.

@ Wael

"why" questions are sometimes irritating.

They always are, and you can generally tell a lot by the reactions to them. I did get a bit of a chuckle out of your story as it totally reminded me of the infamous "NO POK" series on Youtube 8-)

WaelJanuary 25, 2017 6:06 AM

@Clive Robinson,

Which brings us back to our earler conversation about other "something you know" authenticators that are not passphrases.

How? the skull is not processing! We should talk about the "three" evels of connection between sciences, especially between Psychology and Security! Or Security and other sciences!

Security and "performing arts" are tightly connected :)

WaelJanuary 25, 2017 6:12 AM

@Dirk Praet,

"NO POK" series on Youtube 8-)

I've got to look for that, then! Sounds familiar, though. Once upon a time, I asked a mathematics professor during class: why is this theory important? He almost jumped out of his skin! He said: why is anything important? I think I irritated him :)

rJanuary 25, 2017 7:14 AM

@bM/pM,

That's exactly what I think the 'notion' behind handgun control is, negligence for socioeconomic issues and disparity/despair.

It wont solve _anything_.

parabarbarianJanuary 25, 2017 7:30 AM

I suppose I should not be surprised but people seriously defending the so-called "weapons effect" still amaze me. It is an article of faith not reality. Only the true believers seem to be able to replicate it and even them the evidence is laughably thin. It is right up there with "video games cause violence" and "vaccines cause autism" shibboleths. Granted it’s a manifestation of a very human tendency and goes far back into human history. Back to a time when people believed that amulets and special stones had power to influence human behavior.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 25, 2017 10:17 AM

@ Wael,

How? the skull is not processing!

There is "a time and a place" for every event...

In the tangible physical world, an event usually needs "an actor" "on location at the time". If you can show you were not there you have an alibi, if the authorities can show you were there at the time, then you are on the suspect list.

Thus time and place can be strong authenticators, and to be where and when at the event either requires foreknowledge or coincidence.

My InfoJanuary 25, 2017 1:07 PM

@þM

And silence about black on white violence, murder and racism...

Not really. I'm white, and I've been hanging around predominantly black downtown Baltimore for some time. There was a gang of black high school kids that mugged me a couple of times, but the most serious threat to me there was still the white militia/hunter types that hang around rural Baltimore County.

The cops in Baltimore were all too busy doing an unconstitutional round-up and confiscation of all guns in city limits owned by blacks.

And as far as actual black-on-white violence goes, we still have the same problem of disproportionate sentences and disproportionate likelihood of prosecution for the same crime.

Just like the black man who whistles at a white woman and is falsely accused of rape....

The classification of "hate" for white-on-black crimes would be unnecessary, perhaps, except that the white militias, kkk, etc. are so incredibly organized, devious and successful at infiltrating and subverting the law enforcement, medical, educational, and other institutions that we depend on for justice, healing, learning, and so forth.

These people treat me like a carpetbagger in the deep South anywhere I go in the U.S. I don't otherwise have a thing for or against blacks: it's just that the same groups who practice such hate on blacks also hate Jews, gays, transgender, "mentally ill," disabled and other Untermenschen.

* kkk == murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder

TedJanuary 25, 2017 1:23 PM

@Ned

Ted, did the educational and refreshing orderly, analytical, and in-depth evaluation include this stuff? (your post)

• The Rendition Project "research into rendition and secret detention in the ‘war on terror’"
• The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: CIA Torture
• International Criminal Court annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities (2016)

Senator discussion on torture during the nomination debate (searchable transcript):
https://www.c-span.org/video/?422416-1/us-senate-votes-6632-confirm-mike-pompeo-cia-director

• Mark Warner at 0:40
• Ron Wyden at 1:49 and 3:37
• Dianne Feinstein at 2:49
• Tom Udall at 3:01
• James Lankford at 3:32
• Martin Heinrich at 3:37

3-Minute Video: Mike Pompeo rules out use of torture under Trump presidency
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/25/trump-executive-order-torture-black-sites-guantanamo-bay

daveJanuary 25, 2017 4:24 PM

Word frequency in this post*
media 18
fear 29
terror 32
gun 85


*not counting this list, or after

Anon65535January 25, 2017 7:30 PM

I disagree with the sentiment that "it's not the media's fault".

There are only 6 major media corporations in the US and they all have some ties to corporations that are themselves tied to the military industrial complex (GE, Draper, etc.).

By keeping the hysteria of "bad guys" in the forefront of everyone's mind, they allow the defense budget to balloon to be more than the next 8 nations combined which directly benefits the defense contractors but not necessarily the public.

TedJanuary 25, 2017 11:46 PM

My headline is that the bathroom is the most dangerous room in your house.

A few years ago in a journal (mind slipping can't remember citation) a four quadrant grid was presented regarding fear. Things that were familiar were on the left. Things that more remote to the right. The bottom was high understand-ability and the top was higher complexity.

Nukes were in the upper right along with chem and bio attacks. Never seen 'em. Don't understand 'em. Scary as shit.

Lower left was driving to work, taking a bath. I could do it in my sleep. Of course the lower left things were where you had a greater chance of getting hurt than from the things that were the most scary.

InzombniacJanuary 26, 2017 12:28 AM

@Ted,

The CDC has a Zombie Preparedness Week, it's good exercise.

I guess fear can be healthy.

nlmJanuary 26, 2017 2:19 AM

@MyInfo
"There was a gang of black high school kids that mugged me a couple of times, but the most serious threat to me there was still the white militia/hunter types that hang around rural Baltimore County."

What hunters done to you?
Media downplay violence in black community.
Media are topic of this comments.

GreenSquirrelJanuary 26, 2017 5:51 AM

@Dirk Praet

However much as a nation you may find that acceptable, our mileage and approach of the issue significantly differs, even the mentioning of which invariably results in a specific class of gun proponents taking offense and engaging in name calling.

This confirms there some topics which I fully agree with you on.

I find it a shame that a Western, 1st world society is made up of a large proportion of people who believe the threat to their lives (and the lives of their loved ones) is so imminent they have to be constantly ready to defend themselves. I've lived in war zones where that level of risk doesn't exist, so it is saddening that the US can't improve its society into a better place.

I also worry about the tourists and rehabilitated felons who are pretty much left at the mercy of the evil rapegang-terrorists because they are unable to arm themselves as is required to defend life, liberty and property in the US. Given that it is apparently a necessity to have at least one firearm for self defence, I've no idea how they survive to make the return flight.

On a positive note, this also implies that, as a nation, people from the USA must be born with much more developed close quarter battle skills than people elsewhere in the world. In the UK, for example, we spend months teaching recruits how to safely handle their weapons and how to survive contact with the enemy. I wonder what the US Army needs to teach their recruits if the citizenry is already armed and able to use their weapons to effectively defend themselves against armed attackers. Maybe its just ironing and polishing.

Ergo SumJanuary 26, 2017 6:30 AM

@Anura..

I didn't call for thousands of regulations, I called for a handgun ban. But yeah, I mean, if it fits your narrative.

That may not happen for the next four years, quote from the White House website:

"Supporting law enforcement means supporting our citizens’ ability to protect themselves. We will uphold Americans’ Second Amendment rights at every level of our judicial system."

Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/law-enforcement-community

Dirk PraetJanuary 26, 2017 8:15 AM

@ GreenSquirrel

In the UK, for example, we spend months teaching recruits how to safely handle their weapons and how to survive contact with the enemy.

One of my cousins, who is the master-at-arms for the local police force, keeps telling me the exact same thing. I guess when someone joins the US military, instructors will be spending quite some time unlearning their recruits whatever it is they had previously learned about guns (if anything at all). And I concur with your proposal to distribute a handgun and temporary carry permit to every visitor entering the US with a valid visa and a blank criminal record. Seems only fair to me.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 26, 2017 9:39 AM

@ GreenSquirrel,

Maybe its just ironing and polishing.

Which begs the question of what they are polishing to occupir so much time...

NedJanuary 26, 2017 9:40 AM

Thanks, @Ted!

One thing I had a little trouble making out amid all the Don't do it, Don't do it, Don't do it from our brave legislators, was how the nominees are going to comply with CAT Article 7 and whether the administration is going to prosecute torturers, or extradite them:

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CAT.aspx

since those are the only two options.

The hearings included several new admissions against interest, so Article 7 evidently applies. Hope they get it sorted out pretty soon, since CIA focal points are churning out incriminating documents to trap Trump into legal exposure to their crimes against humanity.

https://niqnaq.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/draft-executive-orders-are-just-blue-sky-thinking/

TedJanuary 26, 2017 12:57 PM

@Ned

“…how the nominees are going to comply with CAT Article 7 and whether the administration is going to prosecute torturers, or extradite them”

If a human intelligence collector acts out of accordance with the army field manual, to whom would they be accountable?

“…since CIA focal points are churning out incriminating documents to trap Trump into legal exposure to their crimes against humanity.”

From the Obama administrations December 2016 “Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations”

"...The Prohibition on Torture and Ill-Treatment in International Law: The prohibition on torture is also binding as a matter of customary international law at all times on all States and all parties to an armed conflict, including the United States, regardless of a State’s status as party or non-party to any particular treaty..."

https://www.justsecurity.org/36702/trumps-drone-strikes-measure-approach-transparency-accountability/

AnuraJanuary 26, 2017 1:11 PM

@Ergo Sum

I've learned to measure the time it takes to get accomplish anything through a political movement in decades and generations, not years. Occasionally I am surprised, usually I am disappointed.

NedJanuary 26, 2017 4:58 PM

@Ned, acts out of accordance with the army field manual - you mean like simulated live burial with insects, or object rape or child rape, or pulping leg tissues with beatings, or repeatedly cutting slits in the victim's penis and dousing it with irritants, or something like that?

Good question. Guess they'd be accountable to any authority in any jurisdiction worldwide as hostis humani generis, if the US proved unwilling or unable to prosecute its torturers. Which might be why the ICC is getting into the act propria motu, and why the CAT and HRC have designated lack of command responsibility an urgent failure of compliance. As Satchel Paige, the great jurist on whom Obama modeled his step-n-pitch-it career, counseled, Look forward, not back. Something might be gaining on you.

trsm.mckayJanuary 26, 2017 8:02 PM

@Iggy: ...blaming a gun or a car for how you behave is usually what primitives do when they can't figure out why their crops failed. Only those with poor impulse control and immature logic act and react badly.

Even though this thread is a bit old now, hopefully this post will be useful for future readers (and I consider it on topic because it deals with how the mind reacts to perceived threats). Let me suggest that Iggy has a knowledge gap about how the subconscious mind can be influenced (both intentionally and unintentionally). Suffice to say, there are many studies that show guns do have influence on people, usually by increasing behaviors that are considered to be indicators of aggression. This link is a good summary and has links to various studies: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-psyched/201301/the-weapons-effect. Here is an interesting excerpt:

The weapons effect occurs outside of the lab too. In one field experiment,[2] a confederate driving a pickup truck purposely remained stalled at a traffic light for 12 seconds to see whether the motorists trapped behind him would honk their horns (the measure of aggression). The truck contained either a .303-calibre military rifle in a gun rack mounted to the rear window, or no rifle. The results showed that motorists were more likely to honk their horns if the confederate was driving a truck with a gun visible in the rear window than if the confederate was driving the same truck but with no gun. What is amazing about this study is that you would have to be pretty stupid to honk your horn at a driver with a military rifle in his truck—if you were thinking, that is! But people were not thinking—they just naturally honked their horns after seeing the gun. The mere presence of a weapon automatically triggered aggression.

If you want to know more about how the subconscious can be influenced, one of my favorite books on the subject is Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Another easy way to learn about this is Richard Blais's Hungry Games tv show. In an early episode (the first?) they show that people are much more likely to order French Fries if the menu includes a salad. They believe the explanation is that by merely considering the salad as an option, it gives a feeling of being virtuous, and since they have recently been virtuous it is OK to splurge and order the fries. As people interested in security, there are many interesting topics in this area.

TõnisJanuary 26, 2017 9:57 PM

I can't imagine going through life worrying about terrorism. Is the average American really worried that there are terrorists under every bed who want to kill him because they hate his "way of life," his pretend freedom?!?

rJanuary 27, 2017 5:06 PM

Does the average user worry about malicious ads?

or microphones that are always on?

I think that most people aren't worried about it as a forefrontalobe thought, but I do think that it's a motivation to the polls. Fear is a powerful motivator, fear will drive a man to do very hostile things - even if their angle on it isn't perceived to be hostile from their vantage: eg. go back to mexico etc.

Most people don't think, they 'feel', they react.

It's charming, isn't it?

CharmedJanuary 27, 2017 5:16 PM

Worry, is such a strong present tense word. Where concerns about bad things happening is concerned it can take up a much more ambient, much more insidious home inside the gearings of one's head.

We'll call it a reduction of gears, to their most simple forms.

It's a factor of stress, your reaction and your future reactions.

Worry and worrying, are something that will make you visibly sick - visibly wrought. A good strike at the internals of some body and you can alter them almost irrevocably and imperceptibly.

PTSD is a good example, BPS is another.

We carry our damage and fear forward with us, the right words at the right time and you have them. Can't pay your bills? Behind even a little? I bet you no matter how good it gets it'll never get good enough with a looming feeling of insecurity everyday.

CharmedJanuary 27, 2017 5:21 PM

The average American has less than $5000 in the bank, what would it take?

$1000 dollars a month for your rent+cable?

What about your car or food?

Gas?

Your kids?

People's sense of security is very fragile even without considering terrorist or hacker threats, I reckon it's very easy given a unified front with or without the MSM to drive someone to the brink.

The question is, if you're driving people in such a way - what are your plans with them?

If you loose your job, you've maybe got 2 months with that kind of savings and education. They'll work all their life for a nickel raise that seemingly never comes all the while the interest and mis-estimated expenses of life keep racking up.

Life is a rake, be careful of what and how you play.

CharmedJanuary 27, 2017 7:08 PM

Electronic shock therapy for your mind and daily decision "making" process. It makes the lot of us more and more Epublican each and every day.

Worry more, think less.

Reactions are king, like birds fleeing a hound in the water.

Click Click Click.

CharmedJanuary 27, 2017 7:21 PM

Your defenses fail you when you're modeling yourself for others.

What does it take to make someone think that god hates them?
Stealth?
Saturation?

What are the odds that someone will go postal at any given moment in time?
How2, does one measure that?
Has it been measured?
Can it be measured?

What are the effects?

Suicide?
Armed robbery?
Terrorism?

Are these interrelated concepts?
Are poverty and despair factors or fake actors?

How do we seed an environment with enough gravimetric uncertainty to perpetuate chaos?
Can we modulate chaos?
Can we seed or sew chaos?
Can chaos be planted? Can it be harvested?

Uncertainty in the face of surmounting odds sounds like chaos to me.

What mechanisms of deniability are available to those en search of the known unknowns?

Are murder and mayhem really a glint in one's eyes?

CharmedJanuary 27, 2017 7:30 PM

Loneliness is evil just like a pair of headphones, it's isolating.

Isolation means that one can spread fertilizer more effectively on your eyes and ears like well buttered toast and thus one's mind.

We can isolate whole communities with today's technology, it's ease.

Who cares about the individual?

Eye propose a toast.

The producer.January 27, 2017 7:38 PM

The most effective use of a fertilizer is to separate the weeds from your plants, the unwanted from the productive.

The useful, and the usable.

Who then, do we cull?

Both the weeds and the plants?

Is there a time limit behind the harvest moon? A cadence for the living?

What is productive?

What is production?

The producer.January 27, 2017 7:49 PM

It's a question of jealousy, who deserves the fertilizer more than you?

Let's water it and find out.

Crabs in the bucket, just add water and watch the fun while they drown with gills.

Waterboarding for the working man.

The producer.January 27, 2017 7:59 PM

All gills and no brain.

It sounds like a healthy dump, but with a bunch of frantic scratching thrown in for giggles.

Do we turn the heat up and ready our place for a meal?

Or do we just let you simmer?

Without investments/savings and education how long do you have really?

Before your, err: our goose is cooked?

The producer.January 27, 2017 8:08 PM

One can isolate themselves, but one can also become isolated through the distillation process.

We/they/I can single you out.

We can modulate your concerns, and your worries.

Your input and eventually even your output, it's overwhelming isn't it?

We can drive you to the water, but just because you are parched doesn't mean you have to absorb it like some piece of parchment.

But we are all parchment after all, in the begining there was life - but after a while there's just some writing on the wall and a death certificate with your name on it.

What choice do you have in your mortal body but to live among things?

Gay LarryJanuary 28, 2017 6:27 PM

I think the media influences our fear period.
More like it induces our fear.


Psychological Priming

Priming is an acuteness to stimuli because of exposure to a certain event or experience. For example, an individual who has just purchased a new car may now start to notice with more frequency other people driving her same make and model. This person has been primed to recognize more readily a car like hers because of the experience she has driving and owning one.

rJanuary 30, 2017 5:09 AM

With subliminal messaging outlawed, have their been any studies as to whether repeated saturation and or priming has occurred at any specific times?

CarpetCatFebruary 1, 2017 7:22 PM

Are there two Bruce's? One that posts this topic over and over. Tells us not to be scared, to use facts. Make decisions with logic and risk/reward balancing.

And one that makes odd posts about the American president and his feelings.

What is wrong with this world?
(is it wrong to compare and contrast, to deduce, to think?)

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