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17:00 - 18:30 21 March 2013

Black Swans and Burstiness: Countering Myths about Terrorism


Archaeology Lecture Theatre G6 | Gordon House (link Map)
31-34 Gordon Square | London | WC1H 0PY |

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: Free of charge, no booking required
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Professor Gary LaFree, is co-founder and director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, and professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Prof Gary LaFree argues terrorism has two characteristics that make it challenging from a public policy perspective—its black swan quality and its burstiness. Black swan incidents are those that fall outside the realm of regular expectations, have a high impact, and defy prediction. The terrorist attack on the US on 9/11, and on London on July 7, 2005 are prominent examples. At the same time, terrorism tends to be bursty; highly concentrated in time and space. This talk will put high profile attacks into a broad context by showing how they compare to the thousands of other attacks that have taken place since 1970. Many terrorist attacks produce no fatalities and frequently rely on common, low technology weapons and do not involve a great deal of planning. When terrorist organizations find methods that work they use them rapidly and repeatedly. Balancing the mundane nature of terrorism with its occasional capacity for mass destruction is a unique policy challenge of the 21st century.


Alexandra Skinner
+44 (0)20 7679 4999 | alexandra.skinner@ucl.ac.uk


More information

Galton Lafree