Rick Steves’ Pragmatic Approach to Terrorism

May 23, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

I’ve long admired Rick Steves, not only for his immensely useful travel resources, but for his world view and his willingness to speak up on difficult topics, such as advocating for the decriminalization of drugs.

Another topic on which he has taken a courageous stand is the way we, as a nation, react to terrorism. Here’s what Steves had to say (in 2006):

I think we’re 300 million people and if we lose a few hundred people a year to terrorists, that doesn’t change who we are and it shouldn’t change the fabric of our society. Frankly I think we should get used to losing—as long as we’re taking the stance in the world of being the military superpower, you’re going to have people nipping at you. And if it’s hundreds or thousands—we lose 15,000 people a year to have the right to bear arms and most people think that’s a good deal, year after year. We spend 15,000 people for the right to bear arms. What do we spend to be as aggressive and heavy weight on this planet? We’re always going to have terrorism.

I agree with Steves. Zero tolerance regarding terrorism is ruining us. We tolerate death as inevitable in many other spheres without freaking out, clamping down on civil rights and indiscriminately bombing people overseas.

Yes, you should try to prevent (all) acts of violence, but occasionally you will fail to prevent deaths, as happens with gun violence, drunken driving, texting while driving, cigarette smoking, lack of medical care, eating crappy food and lack to exercise. How many people die early because they are forced to go to terrible schools, which sends them into a downward spiral?

Every year 50,000 Americans die of colon cancer or rectal cancer (combined, they are referred to as colorectal cancer). If Americans over 50 years of age (and those in other higher risk categories) were screened for colorectal cancer as recommended, 80% of these cancer deaths could be avoided.

All of these unavoidable things kill hundreds of thousands of people every year, yet we don’t see politicians calling for any War on these particular problems, much less any “War on American Ignorance.” It’s time to stop pouring so much money into zero-telerance militaristic endeavors and start investing more in young Americans.

Steve’s approach to terrorism dovetails with his approach to travel:

Of course, travel, like the world, is a series of hills and valleys. Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something’s not to your liking, change your liking. Travel is addicting. It can make you a happier American, as well as a citizen of the world. Our Earth is home to nearly 6 billion equally important people. It’s humbling to travel and find that people don’t envy Americans. Europeans like us, but with all due respect, they wouldn’t trade passports.

Globetrotting destroys ethnocentricity. It helps you understand and appreciate different cultures. Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life. Many travelers toss aside their hometown blinders. Their prized souvenirs are the strands of different cultures they decide to knit into their own character. The world is a cultural yarn shop. Back Door Travelers are weaving the ultimate tapestry.

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Category: Drug laws

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Tim Hogan says:

    While a little of the material is dated the statistics on death by terrorism versus other things we do not have a “global war” against remain vaild. Each year we lose more Americans to deaths by lightning strikes, collisions between deer and vehicles and to peanut allergies than to “terrorism.” Republicans just want us all afraid so we become their willing pawns in the destruction of our republic.

    http://dangerousintersection.org/2006/11/09/real-terror-is-fear/

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