Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Terrorism Biggest Threat To America?

During a hearing by Homeland Security Chairman Peter King on the radicalization of American Muslims, Democratic lawmaker Al Green asked why there aren’t any hearing on radical Christians.

Granted, the question paints a false equivalency between radical Muslims and Christians (something Bill Maher refuted in one of his old New Rules segments), but the biggest epic fail was Mr. King’s response:
“To deny that there’s any correlation between the Muslim faith and the biggest threat to this country today defies credulity."
Biggest threat to the country, huh? I could explain why this isn’t so, but someone on reddit actually did it more poignantly than I ever could. Enjoy:
Biggest threat? Really?

Tell you what, let's look at 2001, the year that radical Muslims presented the biggest threat to people on American soil. You know, the year 9/11 happened. Surely, in their worst year, they must have been the biggest threat then, right?
Well, no... not biggest. That honor goes to heart disease, which killed 700,142 Americans in 2001.
Okay, but surely 9/11 took second place, right?
Well, no. That would be cancer. 553,768 deaths.
Third place? Fourth?
Nope. Cerebrovascular diseases (163,538), chronic lower respiratory diseases (123,013)
Okay, so disease is worse than terrorism, fine. But what about non-disease stuff? Surely terrorists are America's biggest threat when it comes to things our health care system isn't supposed to be working to prevent?
Ohhhhh, sorry. Coming in at fifth place in 2001 was accidents (101,537).
Well, shit. Clearly "terrorism" must place on the list somewhere in 2001, right?
Hmm... sixth place, diabetes, seventh place, influenza and pneumonia, eighth place, Alzheimer's... Nephritis... Septicemia... eleventh place, suicides...
Wait, what? Suicides? Suicides? You mean, the one kind of death that is absolutely and completely avoidable has beaten out terrorism in the year that terrorism was at its worst? 32,238 Deaths due to suicide in one year... kinda' makes "never forget" seem like a silly statement.
No! Let's press on! Clearly we're being distracted from the real issue here! Terrorists are really, really bad! Surely they'll be coming up on the list soon...
Chronic liver disease... homicide... Wait! Homicide! There we go! Surely terrorism is included in with that number! 20,308 deaths. That's a lot of death, and almost certainly the majority of it those evil Muslim terrorists!
2,988 people died because of terrorists in 2001. So... roughly 14% of all homicides. Which itself ranked 13th on the list of causes of death in 2001. The year terrorists did their worst.
I'm not trying to outright dismiss the threat of terrorism. Yeah, there are a bunch of people out there that want to kill us, and that's bad, and we should be trying to stop them.
However, their attempts to kill us are, honestly, pathetic when compared to disease, even treatable disease. Terrorists don't cause more death than plain, everyday accidents. Terrorists don't cause more deaths than those amongst us killing each other. They can't even hold a candle to the number of us who have decided to just kill ourselves.
Terrorism is a threat, but a very, very, very minor one. We should be far more concerned about our health care system, which even after the intervention of the PPACA ("Obamacare") is still based on a profit motive which is perfectly happy with letting people die in the name of saving a few bucks. We should be far more concerned with effective traffic safety, to find effective ways of preventing accidents. We should be far more concerned about reaching out to those amongst us who are suffering from anxiety, depression and mental illness, who are in so much mental anguish that they want to take their own lives.
Statistically, you won't die because of a Muslim. You'll die because of fast food. You'll die because you haven't been getting your regular checkups at the doctor. You'll die because you smoke. You'll die because you drink too much. You'll die because some idiot on the road didn't see the stop sign. You'll die because you got into a fight with some other American. You'll die because you, yourself, will make the choice to die. Statistically, you are a bigger threat to yourself than some Muslim.
So maybe it's time we all started acting that way.
Source: National Vital Statistics Reports: Deaths: Injuries, 2001