We had the bombings in Brussels, Paris, Istanbul, and Nice. Once again it is causing people to question whether or not they should travel. Americans were already concerned about traveling to Europe before the incidents in Nice and Turkey.
But, think about the incidents in the US: 911, the Boston Marathon Bombings, Orlando nightclub, the Colorado Movie Theater Massacre, school shootings, and all the other incidents we've had in the US. No one is exempt from these crimes. Have you stopped sending your kids to school, or going to the movies, what about trips to New York or Orlando? The answer is probably no.
Think about all the people that die in car crashes every year in the US. According to Zeeshan ul Hassan, a data scientist for TechJuice.com you are 500 times more likely to die in a car accident than from terrorism. (3,000 people die every day in road accidents worldwide). Most of us are still driving cars. We opt to take the risk. We try to reduce our risk by driving carefully. But you can't control other drivers, and even the best drivers sometimes have accidents.
Statistician ul Hassan also stats that we have roughly the same chance of becoming president (one in 10 million) as we have of being killed in a terrorist attack. The chances of becoming killed in a terrorist attack worldwide is one in 9.3 million.
The 2011 Report on Terrorism from the National Counter Terrorism Center stated that Americans are as likely to be crushed to death by their televisions or furniture as they are to be killed by terrorists.
The bottom line is that there is some risk in daily life. The risk of being the victim of a terrorist attack is a tiny one statistically, but the stories we hear about these incidents are deeply frightening. Remember, terrorism is about inspiring terror. Terrorist engage in these activities against innocent people because it is the most hard they can do. They don't have the means to carry out broader attacks.
So my answer is: If you go to Europe, something could happen, but it could happen in your back yard. We have a lot of tragedies, some of them terrorism and some natural disasters. No one can predict when there will be a hurricane, tsunami or terrorist attack. Everyone has their own comfort level with the thought of recent attacks. Have the terrorists succeeded in making you feel impending terror could happen at any time. Or are you going to follow the example of the French woman whose husband was taken in the Paris attacks by writing a letter to the perpetrators: “I will insult you with my happiness.” Everyone wants to travel, longs to see wonderful places that they have read about or seen in films. Travel is generally recognized as an enhancement of the quality of life.
Let's travel. Don't live in fear. Your odds of being killed in a terrorist attack are one in 9.3 million.