Television’s Adrian Monk had it right. You scaredy cat Americans have a lot to be afraid of, so start making up your list of phobias. Monk had his list, and it was long – 312 fears in all.
Just don’t include terrorism among them. I don’t recall Monk ever mentioning a fear of terrorism. Fear of milk, fear of ladybugs, fear of harmonicas, fear of food touching on his plate, yes. But don’t worry – you can be more rational than Monk in compiling your list. I’m going to give you a list of 18 types of fatal accidents and killings, and 41 health problems and diseases that are more of a real threat to you than terrorism. My sources are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its National Vital Statistics Reports. You can’t get more Establishment-vetted than that.
Oh, I think you should be concerned about terrorism – just not obsessive-compulsive about it. And most Americans do seem to be obsessed about it. That is no accident. Since 9-11, the Bush and Obama administrations have done everything they can to make Americans so scared of terrorism that they are willing to give up their freedoms and their Constitution for supposed security at the hands of government bureaucrats. (And, thanks to Edward Snowden’s revelations, we know how much they can do to us law-abiding citizens, and thanks to the Boston Marathon bombings, what they cannot do despite those powers – namely, prevent terrorism.)
First, how many Americans have died because of terrorism?
Americans’ attitudes about terrorism can be accurately separated as pre-9-11 and post-9-11. That is understandable. The horror of 9-11 is forever ingrained in our memories, with 2,997 Americans dying at the World Trade Center, in a Pennsylvania field, and at the Pentagon.
To get perspective, I went to Wikipedia’s “List of Terrorist Incidents in the U.S.,” now appearing as “Terrorism in the United States.” It may not be completely accurate, but it’s the most exhaustive listing I can find, and a few omissions will not alter my overall thrust.
I considered only incidents since the beginning of the 21st century, because of the centrality of 9-11. I found 87 incidents or planned incidents. Motivations included jihadism, white supremacist and anti-Jewish ideologies, animal rights and anti-abortion extremism, and unknown motivations.
Of these, 15 incidents resulted in 3,046 American deaths inside the U.S. – 2,997 (98%) on 9-11 and 49 (2%) in the other 14 incidents. Once again, the emotional impact of 9-11 is obvious. But all 87 incidents or planned incidents are important because “terrorism” is always front-page news and the feds use all of them to instill fear in the populace, no matter how many are FBI entrapments or the daydreams of delirious (and hapless) wannabe saviors for a cause.
When we factor out 9-11, there have been 49 deaths from terrorism since then, or an average of 4 per year. We will see how that compares with deaths from injuries and deaths from health problems and diseases. It will be obvious how minor a threat terrorism has been (apart from 9-11).
The government’s neat Catch 22
The initial response of Big Brother (aka Uncle Sam) is always: “But you don’t know how many attacks we have prevented with our Surveillance State. Our surveillance powers are the reason there have been so few deaths from terrorism since 9-11.”
Big Bro’ continues: “But of course we cannot tell you how many attacks we have prevented, because that would involve giving away secrets to future terrorists. So, just shut up and accept the surveillance state as the price you pay for security.”
That’s Big Brother’s Catch 22, meant to force citizens into silence and obedience. We are not supposed to question whether American policies abroad are contributing to the rise of terrorism in the first place. And we are not supposed to distinguish between constitutionally limited police powers and today’s total surveillance state, despite the fact that those surveillance powers have been in place since 2007 and utterly failed to stop two alleged terrorists in Boston in 2013. Just shut up and obey without questioning anything the government does.
If we Americans fall in line, we do not deserve any freedom.
18 types of injuries that kill more Americans than terrorism
We have seen that, on average since 9-11, 4 Americans die from terrorist acts per year. Compare that to these threats to your life. The government’s latest statistics are for 2010, so here are how many Americans died of these threats in 2010. I have put all suicides and homicides in their own categories, so the other figures are for “unintentional” deaths.
- 38,364 suicides
- 16,259 homicides
- 105 deaths from cuts and piercings
- 3,782 drownings
- 26,009 deaths from falls
- 2,845 deaths from hot objects or hot substances
- 2,782 deaths from fires or flames
- 606 deaths from firearms
- 590 deaths from machinery accidents
- 10,246 deaths as an occupant of a motor vehicle in an accident
- 4,177 deaths as a motorcyclist in an accident
- 551 deaths as a bicyclist in an accident
- 4,383 deaths as a pedestrian in an accident
- 10 deaths from overexertion
- 33,041 from poisoning
- 788 deaths from being struck by or against an object
- 6,165 deaths from suffocation
Incidentally, there is also a cryptic category called “legal intervention,” with 344 deaths. Is that Big Brother’s discrete way of saying “being killed by a cop”? If so, that sounds suspiciously low to me but you are still 86 times more likely to be killed by a cop than by a designated “terrorist.”
41 types of health problems and diseases that kill more Americans than terrorism
Again, death figures are for 2010, the last year for which we have statistics. Compare these with 4 annual deaths, on average, from terrorist incidents since 9-11.
- 780,213 heart and cardiovascular problems (all types)
- 574,743 cancers (all types)
- 28 salmonella infections
- 10,276 certain other intestinal infections
- 569 tuberculosis
- 26 whooping cough
- 79 meningococcal infections
- 34,812 septicemia
- 28 syphilis
- 9 arthropod-borne viral encephalitis
- 7,564 viral hepatitis
- 8,369 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- 10 malaria
- 5,805 other and unspecified infectious and parasitic diseases
- 4,852 anemias
- 60,071 diabetes mellitus
- 2,948 malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies
- 608 meningitis
- 22,032 Parkinson’s disease
- 83,494 Alzheimer’s disease
- 4,241 other disorders of circulatory system
- 500 influenza
- 49,597 pneumonia
- 138,080 chronic lower respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma
- 213 other acute lower respiratory infections
- 845 pneumoconioses and chemical effects
- 17,011 pneumonitis due to solids and liquids
- 31,187 other diseases of respiratory system
- 2,977 peptic ulcer
- 415 diseases of appendix
- 1,832 hernia
- 31,903 chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
- 3,332 cholelithiasis and other gallbladder disorders
- 50,476 nephritis, nephritic syndrome, and nephrosis
- 489 hyperplasia of prostate
- 137 inflammatory diseases of female pelvic organs
- 825 pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium
- 12,128 certain conditions originating in the perinatal period
- 9,673 congenital malformations, deformations, and chromosomal abnormalities
- 38,360 symptoms, signs, and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified
- 269,844 all other diseases (residual)