As A Londoner, I Still Don't Care About Terrorism -- And You Shouldn't Either

by Nik Swami

As a Londoner who experienced this week's terror attack at Westminster, I'm sure the terrorists were hoping I'd be shaking in my Chelsea boots.

But honestly, I don't care -- because terrorism is blown way out of proportion.

I can't believe some people still don't get it. That's what the terrorists want: an irrational level of fear, anger and hatred.

So, let's be rational instead.

The odds of being killed in a terrorist attack are one in 9.3 million, which means you're 16 times more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to be killed by a terrorist attack.

You're more likely to be killed by slipping in the shower. You're more likely to be killed by falling down the stairs. You're even more likely to be killed by choking on your food. Yeah, tacos are more dangerous than terrorists.

The fact is, we accept risk in all areas of our lives every single day, and most of the time we don't even think about it.

So why is the world obsessed with terrorism?


There's two main reasons. The first is because fear, anger and hatred are viral. Photos of bombings go viral. Videos of mass shootings go viral. Articles about the victims go viral.

I'm telling you, the moment a polar bear starts dating Justin Bieber, climate change is going to go viral, too.

We perceive terrorism to be everywhere, not because it is actually everywhere, but because we see it everywhere. It's always on the news, there's TV shows about it, it's all over social media -- and it shouldn't be.

I'm not saying terrorism isn't important. I'm just saying we should treat it as an issue for the government and military to worry about, like North Korea having nuclear weapons.


We're more concerned with Kim Jong Un's haircut than him defeating us, and that's how it should be.

We shouldn't allow terrorism to poison our society to the extent that it has. Terrorism shouldn't manipulate what we talk about, how we feel or how we treat each other because that's what the terrorists want.

We're being suckers. We're being baited into making everything they do go viral. The more viral it goes, the more fear, anger and hatred it generates in our society, which slimy politicians then exploit.

ISIS wants the west to fear immigration. ISIS wants the west to hate Muslims. ISIS wants the west to ban burkhas. ISIS wants the west to call it Islamic terrorism. ISIS wants the west to invade the Middle East.

They want this because it plays into their "prophecy" that there's going to be a world-ending war between the west and Islam.

That's how they're continually recruiting new members. ISIS propaganda is successfully convincing the gullible the war has already begun.


This is how they've grown from a small group of assholes in the Middle East to a large group of fighters, as well as individual 'soldiers' around the world who pledge allegiance to them when carrying out attacks.

We've seen them in the United States, in France, in Belgium and now in England. We're going to keep seeing them, even more so if we keep taking the bait and making their prophecy come true.

Of course, the government and military have the most important job to do, but it's also on us to fight terrorism, just without bullets, tanks and planes.

The second reason why we deal with terrorism so irrationally is because it's unexpected.

Do you know how many people were killed by terrorism in recent years? Up to 28,000 people per year (2015).

But guess how many were killed in car crashes.

1.3 million.

2.8 million people were killed by obesity. 7.5 million children were killed by hunger and preventable diseases.

But people don't panic like they do with terrorism because the other deaths all seem, sadly, commonplace.

I don't see people changing their profile pictures for car crash victims. I don't see politicians screaming about the need to eliminate obesity. I don't see globally trending hashtags for starving children.

We need to stop overreacting to terrorism, and under-reacting to everything else.

Terrorists were smart enough to know that they could never beat nations' militaries in a straight fight. So what did they do? They attacked the hearts and minds of those nation's citizens.

They're trying to break us from the inside, and it's an effective strategy, so we need to be smarter than them by staying strong together as one.

That means replacing our fear, anger and hatred with love and tolerance. It means not being afraid.