The other day I heard a talking head (I honestly can’t remember who) state that more Americans are killed by their household furniture falling on them than by terrorists. That intrigued me. In the process of trying to verify it, (I could neither verify it or not), I ran across some very interesting statistics. Let’s explore.
In the wake of 9/11 (which saved the Bush 43 presidency) the Republicans, led by Dick Cheney, played the fear card masterfully! In fact they played it so well that elected Democrats were afraid to defy them with facts and logic. Ironically George W. Bush (never to be mistaken with a genius) came the closest when he told Americans to go about their normal lives albeit with just a bit more vigilance. If they didn’t the terrorist won. I firmly believe in the “see something; say something” strategy but otherwise have not changed how I conduct my personal life since 9/11.
I’m going to cite many different statistics that came from multiple studies. The time periods covered in them vary; in fact they sometime vary within a given study. Obviously the sources are multiple and definitions are always subjective. All that being said the results are still eye opening!
In 2001 2,990 Americans died because of the actions of terrorists. That same year 29,573 died from firearms. 2001 was by far the apex for Americans killed by terrorists. In 2014 (the last year of this study) 32 Americans died because of terrorist actions while 33,599 were shot to death. Conclusion: I have a lot better chance of being shot to death by an American with a gun than dying in a terrorist attack of any kind.
In that study’s terrorist attack numbers domestic terrorist attacks like the 2001 Anthrax attacks, the 2002 Beltway sniper, the 2008 Knoxville church shootings, the 2009 assassination of Dr. George Tiller and attack on the Holocaust Museum, the 2012 Sikh Temple Shooting and the 2014 Overland Park Jewish Community Center shootings are included.
While I am not denying that terrorism is a serious threat, it is not the number one threat to Americans by a long shot! If you listened to our campaigns, especially the rhetoric coming out of the Republicans you would find that hard to believe.
In a study that (mostly) covered the years 2005 to 2014 they determined the annual average number of Americans who were killed by various causes. Here are some of their results: Islamic Jihadist Immigrants 2, Far right-wing terrorists 5, All Islamic terrorists (including American citizens) 9, Armed toddlers 21, lightning strikes 31, lawnmowers 69, being hit by a bus 264, falling out of bed 737 and being shot by another American 11,737. My conclusion: We have a much bigger gun problem than a terrorist problem. To complicate it guns are part of the American culture.
For the gamblers among my readership I found some research that put things in the form of odds. The lifetime odds of an American being the victim of terrorism are 1 in 45,808. Your odds of dying from cancer or heart disease are 1 in 7; anybody for more health care research money? Chronic lung disease (i.e. black lung disease) comes in at 1 in 27. If Trump is really serious about helping coal miners (and he is not!) why isn’t he including much more money in his budget and supporting regulations to help them with their health problems? I won’t go into each weather phenomenon; I’ll just use the all-inclusive “Any force of nature” stat which comes in at 1 in 3,122. We act appropriately based on the weather and weather forecast but we don’t hide under a rock unless the sun is shining. (Having recently undergone successful skin cancer surgery I can tell you the sun isn’t always our friend either.) The “granddaddy” of all the revelations is the odds of being killed by an illegal immigrant terrorist which are 1 in over 138 million. Now do you really want to spend your tax dollars on a wall or a Muslim ban?
Trump and the right wing fear mongers are full of malarkey as usual. A scared and ignorant voter is a good prospect for a modern day GOP candidate. You are your best political defense.
Here is the good news: your chances of winning the Powerball jackpot are multiple times greater than being killed by a terrorist. So go buy that Powerball ticket during your normal travels and just keep an eye out as you do.
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