50 Days, 50 Thoughts (Day 3: Odds of a Syrian Refugee Being a Terrorist)


Why Donald Trump Jr’s “Poison Skittles tweet” isn’t only terrible, but statistically misguided.



Well, we’re in the thick of it. As we count down the days left till November 8th – by our count it’s 48 – we’ll be giving a daily thought on the state of the 2016 elections. If you want us to talk about a certain topic or issue for this feature, leave it in the comments section at this post or email it to us at contact[AT]thepostturtle.com, with “50 Days, 50 Thoughts” as the title. In this installment, we’ll be talking about the chances of a terrorist attack from a Syrian refugee. Oh and Donald Trump Jr.’s TERRIBLY misguided tweet.  



Donald Trump Jr. recently tweeted this:



Obviously it didn’t go over very well with the Internet. You know it’s bad when a corporate brand like Skittles is distancing themselves from interacting with you on Twitter! Besides stating the obvious, that Syrian refugees are people and not candy, the idea that taking in more Syrian refugees would actively courting a terrorist attack is misguided to say the least.


In Trump Jr.’s assessment of the Syrian refugee analogy, a bowl of Skittles would have three poison pieces that would kill an individual. Statistically that would mean with every 100 Syrian refugees – let’s say there are 100 Skittles in that bowl – entering the US, three of them would potentially commit acts of terrorism. Which frankly, that stat is:




So what are the actual chances of a Syrian refugee committing an act of terrorism?


Well according to a Cairo Institute policy analysis, the chances of an American citizen dying by a foreign born terrorist, that also happens to be a refugee, is a 1 in 3,638,587,094 chance of happening. To put that into perspective, you have a better chance of dying from a firearms discharge (1 in 7,944), a motor vehicle crash (1 in 113), or being struck by lightning (1 in 174,426). To be fair, the Cairo Institute wasn’t specifically talking about Syrian refugees, but in reality that distinction wouldn’t really change the odds.


No matter how impossible the chances though, accepting Syrian refugees does open-up the possibility of a terrorist coming into the US; because no matter how small the chance, there’s always a chance of it happening. Then again as a nation, we’ve decided that owning a gun, driving a car, and going out in a thunderstorm is worth the risk, even though they pose a MUCH greater threat of fatality than a refugee committing an act of terrorism. The question we have to ask ourselves is the 1 in 3 billion (!!!) chance of a refugee carrying out a terrorist attack enough to compromise our core values of being a nation that has historically taken in immigrants?



(Photo Credits: Pixabay.com)



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2 Responses to 50 Days, 50 Thoughts (Day 3: Odds of a Syrian Refugee Being a Terrorist)

  1. Anonymous

    Wow, never knew the possibility of a Syrian refugee being a terrorist was that remote. How people talk about it in the media, you would think that its a big threat.

  2. Pingback: On the Issues: Where the Candidates Stand on Bringing in Syrian Refugees | The Post Turtle

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