Controlling Irrational Fears After 9/11 Essay

When reading the essay Controlling Irrational Fears After 9/11, the first argument to catch my eye was directed around the strong reaction to the number of deaths, 2800, on 9/11. Americans immediately began to react to the catastrophe of that day. The supposed reason behind this reaction is the number of deaths in the single day when not so much as one bullet was discharged to cause one of the deaths. The author of the essay used two premises to prove the conclusion that the number of deaths was not the sole reason for the reaction of the American people.

The first premise is the fact that the number of deaths per month in 2001, and every month since, in America outweigh the number of deaths caused by the terror attacks on 9/11. While there is naturally some reaction to these deaths the reaction is nowhere near as strong or irrational as the response to the attacks. The second premise to support the conclusion is the unlikelihood that Americans remember that also in 2001 another catastrophe occurred, an earthquake in Gujarat, India, killed at least 20,000 people if not more.

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The premises that the author included to support the conclusion are sufficient in proving to the readers the number of deaths only played a small role in the irrational reaction to the terrorist attacks. If the number of deaths was the real cause of the reaction then every time any country looses 2800 or more people, Americans would be devastated and have some strong reaction. This particular argument is deductively valid because the conclusion is drawn and supported by facts. The second argument featured by the author is that malice is reason for the irrational reaction to the terrorist attacks.

The premise presented by the author to disclaim the argument is the fact that malice is a part of the 15,000 murders that take place every year in the US and yet the only reaction society has towards the deaths is making murder illegal and having the criminal a fair trial. There is no big “war” or a huge expense applied to prevent and severely punish murderers. The conclusion the author is using the premise to support is the fact that malice is present in all forms of murder and since society does not react irrationally to everyday homicide why would the terrorists malice be cause for a different reaction?

The arguments provided in this instance by the author are inductively strong. While a little fact is presented to disclaim malice, and is quite believable, the argument is not solid and can be easily argued against. The premises used by the author for both arguments are true and they are not difficult for anyone to prove. To prove the premises used one would simply have to revert to statistics of homicide in the US, articles from the earthquake in Gujarat, India, and the statistics surrounding automobile related fatalities in the US.

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