- - Sunday, May 28, 2017


On Memorial Day, when we honor those who died to keep Americans safe, it seems most fitting to consider the complex issue of danger and safety in our present world.

What do you think: Is the world today safer or more dangerous than it used to be?

The answer depends on whom you ask.

In his book “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” psychologist Steven Pinker argued that the world is actually growing less violent, despite the impression projected by the media. He examined data on murder, war and genocide, even terrorism, and concluded that even though some years show upswings and spikes, the long-term trend for violence in the world is downward. Mr. Pinker claims the rate of death in war fell by a factor of 100 over a span of 25 years.

That’s very good news for this Memorial Day.

But not everyone agrees with it.  

The people at the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) disagree.  They publish the annual Global Peace Index (PI), based on somewhat different criteria than those used by Pinker. The 2016 Peace Index – the most recent available – concluded that the world is becoming a more dangerous place.

The authors point to worsening conflicts in the Middle East, the lack of a solution to the refugee crisis and an increase in deaths from major terrorist incidents that have all contributed to the world being less peaceful in 2016 than it was in 2015. They reckon only 10 countries to be truly at peace – that is, not engaged in any conflicts either internally or externally.

Right now the world probably seems somewhat more dangerous to those who, for example, attend concerts in the U.K., nightclubs in the U.S., go to airports anywhere … or who are Christians in Egypt.  While Steven Pinker may be correct when he reminds us that the number of people killed in terrorist attacks are a fraction of those killed in ordinary homicides, the fact fails to soothe.  Most murder victims know their murderer, and most of us believe the people we know won’t kill us.  In contrast, terrorism evokes a sense of public danger due to perpetrator anonymity and the randomness of its targets – as well as the deluge of media coverage that inevitably follows every incident.

One way we can act to make Americans safer is to sanction terrorism’s enablers, the people who provide ideology and funding for terrorism worldwide.  

We all know who they are, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The first step has already been taken. Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, and Rep. Doug Lamborn, Colorado Republican, introduced the Taylor Force Act, which makes American aid to the Palestinian Authority conditional on the PA halting payments to terrorists and their families. U.S. aid to the PA frees up money in their budget to support the families of terrorists. Currently, Palestinian terror payments total about $300 million annually.

The Taylor Force Act is named for a former U.S. Army officer who was murdered last year by Palestinian terrorists. What better way to honor him on this Memorial Day.

Tell your representatives to support the Taylor Force Act. To date, all the cosponsors on the legislation are Republicans. But a number of prominent Democrats have joined President Trump’s call for ending the terror payments.

Passing the Taylor Force Act, sanctioning those who enable terrorism, will help make the world a safer place.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide