Tetchy teens toll trumps trained terrorists
Between 2001 and 2013, about 3,400 USA citizens died from terror attacks (10% of which were outside the USA). In the same period there were over 400,000 deaths by gun violence inside the USA. [CDC figures, CNN report]. Measures which reduced USA gun crime by even 0.1% would save more lives than a 100% effective counter-terrorism system.
Before we can engaging in a discussion about "balancing" safety and privacy, the people asking us to discuss it need to explain what they feel is so uniquely awful about terror-related deaths and injuries that it requires such disproportionate resource expenditure and rights restrictions. In my experience, despite their insistence on being rational people who understand money, the 'stop-terror-at-any-cost' proponents are rarely in favour of any other 'big state' activities which would have a higher expected health payoff: increased health and safety provisions; supporting mental health; improving road safety; promoting changes in diet and lifestyle; increased research and treatment of major diseases.