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A different way to think about terror in France

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Many people look at the recent string of attacks in France as a new normal, but it could be considered a *return* to normal. According to Wikipedia (search "list of terrorist incidents in France") there were 17 terrorist attacks in France from 1971-80 and 29 from 1981-90. But only 4 attacks in the next twenty years, 1991-2010. We are now up to 15 attacks in the present decade and we still have several years to go.

Two things which really are different this time around are the targets and the body count. In the 70s and 80s the targets were primarily government-related such as embassies and ambassadors, although there were also several attacks on civilians at airports, cinemas, and hotels. The attacks averaged about 2 fatalities and 18 injured.

In the present decade the targets have been mainly ordinary people at cafes, nightclubs, sporting events, trains, or civic celebrations. The average result of the attacks (including the attack in Nice) have been 16 people killed and 42 injured.

It looks like the risk of any kind of terror incident has returned to its level in 70s and 80s, but a given incident today is far more lethal.

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