Terrorist attacks like the one this week in Brussels are stunning horrific events that we need to make all reasonable efforts to stop. But, it pays to take a moment to get a forest level perspective on the phenomena of terrorism in general, before coming to conclusions about how to address it.
From 1970 through 2014, the small red bars are Islamic terror attacks in Europe, all the rest are groups like the IRA Provos, Red Army Faction and the like which were far more numerous and more deadly than these recent attacks we have been seeing lately.Via Sallyanne Ofner.
Islamist terrorism may make headlines, but the overwhelming majority of terrorism in Europe in my lifetime has had its roots in regional autonomy movements and home grown political groups.
The United States has had far less domestic terrorism than Western Europe, but even in the U.S., some of our worst terrorist attacks have been domestic, such as the Oklahoma City bombing:
Likewise, most recent Islamist terrorist attacks have been directed at other Muslims, something that U.S. news outlets, due to their audience and sources of news, tends to distort:
Also, it is important to recognize that terrorism still causes far less harm than crimes committed by people with no coherent agenda or larger organizational ties. Consider: