Wednesday, October 05, 2005

How many disasters, how many terrorist attacks?

In our recent history, how many terrorist attacks have occured on US soil?
The Oklahoma City bombing
The WTC parking garage bombing
The 9/11 WTC strike / Pentagon Strike

These disasters led to several thousand deaths and are truly horrible events. In no way do I endeavor to make light of them.

In our recent history, how many natural disasters have occured on US soil?
In 2005 alone, there have been 34 major disasters
declared by FEMA. How many of these have been terrorist attacks? 0

Disaster in the making: As FEMA weathers a storm of Bush administration policy and budget changes, protection from natural hazards may be trumped by “homeland security”. That article is dated 9/22/2004, and in the wake of destruction left by Katrina and Rita, it has proven somewhat prophetic...

In general, the percentage of disaster declarations from terrorist attacks is minute. Less than 1percent of US disasters in recent history have been terrorism-related. Yet we have gutted FEMA, made them part of the Dept of Homeland Security, and force communities and states to spend millions on "terrorism preparedness training," syphoning money away from programs like repairing the levees in New Orleans or preparation for any other sort of disaster. We have diverted billions of dollars from responding to and mitigating the effects of natural disasters into "preventing" and preparing for a terrorist attack. Local agencies are not allowed to touch money allocated for fighting terrorism in any other way.

This overspending and fixation on the horror of terrorism leaves us in a state of constant terror-fear and completely unprepared and underfunded to deal with the much more common disasters that kill Americans in greater numbers and with VASTLY greater frequency than terrorist attacks.


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