“Why Is It So Hard to Find a Suicide Bomber These Days?”

A very long article, but the basic gist of it can be summed up by this paragraph from the middle:

[…] To put this in context: Out of more than 150,000 murders in the United States since 9/11 — currently more than 14,000 each year — Islamist terrorists accounted for fewer than three dozen deaths by the end of 2010. Part of the credit for this is surely due to the law-enforcement officers and community members who have worked to uncover plots before they could be carried out. But fewer than 200 Muslim Americans have been involved in violent plots since 9/11, most of them overseas, so credit for the low level of violence must be due primarily to the millions of Muslims who have refrained from answering the call to terrorism.

Why aren’t there more terrorists? I’m sure it’s a combination of things. The article lists five possibilities, but doesn’t mention the (to me) most obvious one: evolution. A successful terrorist must have sufficient intelligence to be competent at it, sufficient gullibility not to see through the cynical manipulations of terrorist leaders, and very violent tendencies, among other things. The combination is extremely rare, and every time a suicide bomber attacks (which, by definition, each can only do once), he removes himself from contributing his genes to the next generation.

Terrorists are an endangered species. They probably won’t become extinct any time soon, but they’re well on the way to it.

(Via Schneier on Security)