Courtesy of Gallup, this chart shows how Americans think of terrorism. It’s pretty simple: an attack on Americans produces a sizeable spike for a month or three. An attack on a European country produces a somewhat smaller reaction. An attack anywhere else is a yawn. The only possible exception is the Bali bombings of 2002, which is hard to untangle from the Beltway sniper hysteria, which happened at the same time.
If history is any guide, the current spike will be gone by January or February. Then again, there’s an election season about to start. I guess there’s no telling how long people can be kept terrified if our presidential candidates really put their minds to it.