Gotta love the scientist’s hairdo.
This is a valid point about our reaction to terrorism but not about our reaction to corporations. (And I say this as someone who holds no brief for the typical behavior of our large corporations.) We accept outrageous risk all the time, and we deal with the consequences.
Who is “We” in your comment? Whether it is a terrorist act or a corporation’s error, clean drinking water is absolutely necessary to maintain life, and accepting outrageous risks just because they come from the operations of a corporation is still not acceptable. Water supplies are not infinite, otherwise there would not be any dry and desertic areas on our planet.
We accept outrageous risk every time we drive our cars (for example). If people died from terrorism in the same numbers they die in automobile accidents, we’d have the collective freakout Tom Tomorrow describes. But we don’t, because it’s a risk we took upon ourselves.
I’m not at all arguing that we ought to take that risk (either of driving or allowing corporations to play fast-and-loose with our drinking water). I’m just pointing out that when it’s risk we deliberately assume and perceive as under our control, we’re – rightly – deliberate about it.
What we need to understand is that terrorism is part of the same thing. The unpredictable and violent behavior of people who perceive our international adventures (whether rightly or wrongly) to be unjust should be a risk we deliberate over and either accept as a consequence of being the leaders of a new Delian League or else reject as too much of a price to pay for being awesomely wealthy and powerful.
But the collective freakout we have over terrorism (which does not touch our lives with anything approaching the frequency of car accidents) is embarrassing and stupid.