In 2014, acts of terrorism killed 32,658 people in the world. With a worldwide population of 7.3 billion, the odds of being involved in a terrorist attack is less than .000004 of a percent. Looked at another way, also in 2014, 32,675 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways, and 54,500 Americans were killed in an accident at home. Statistically, your odds of getting killed are much greater staying home or driving your car than through an act of terrorism.
Back to FDR’s quote, fear is then in fact the only thing we have to fear. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by the mindless and irrational acts of a small handful of religious and political zealots, they have then accomplished their goal. Unfortunately, there are very few places in today’s world that don’t have at least some potential for terrorist activity. The choice ultimately comes down to choosing to cower in our homes in fear (and we know from the above statistics how rational that is), or we can go about living our lives.
I am sure most of you have clients who have come to you in the past few weeks with concerns about their future travel plans. Some may have even changed or canceled their plans. You have the responsibility to try to educate your clients about the value of the experiences that travel affords them, and the realistic likelihood of being exposed to one of these terrible incidents. It is in everyone’s best interest that fear is not allowed to rule the day.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” This is a quote by the great world traveler Mark Twain, and it is as true today as it was then. Going out and experiencing other cultures and meeting people of different faiths and political beliefs is the only way to dispel the stereotypes and fear of others that terrorism creates.
My hope for all of you is for a safe, healthy and prosperous 2016.