Risks of Terrorism, Homicide and Illness: a Methodological Consideration

Richard J. Chasdi


A recurring question posed to researchers is whether or not terrorism poses similar degrees of risk as other man-made or natural disasters. There are some specialists, such as John Mueller, who argue that somewhat ironically, the threat of terrorism is vastly exaggerated.[1] This begs the question : compared to what? The underlying aim of this Research Note is to point out some basic methodological and contextual issues to consider, rather than making an attempt to provide hard answers regarding relative individual and collective risks. However, an effort is made to place some empirical findings into appropriate political and social contexts. The framework for discussion includes: basic conceptual problems regarding the notion of “risk”; a comparison of certain basic terrorism incident rates with rates for homicides and illness; and identification of possible future directions to gauge risk assessment within the context of a more holistic systems perspective. 

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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