People tend to assess risk poorly. As an example, more people feel the need to be protected against homicide, whether by terrorists or domestic criminals, than to be protected against heart disease and cancer. There are a whole lot of folks up in arms about being forced to purchase health care (eventually). Most of those people would support strong anti-terrorist and anti-crime legislation.
Here are some statistics:
In the US in 2007 1,178,942 people died from heart disease or cancer.
In that same year, there were 18,361 deaths by homicide (2/3 of those by gunshot).
One of the reasons that there are so few homicides is our preoccupation with defending against it, but even in the rougher neighborhoods of the industrialized world, heart disease and cancer far exceed violence as a cause of death.
So don’t worry so much about getting shot, or blown up by a mad bomber. Maybe be a little more concerned about your cholesterol count and the pesticides in your food. You’ll live longer.