Terrorism: More people die of aspirin and you have the same odds of being killed in a terrorist attack as dying in an avalanche
There is no question that a government that stresses the risk of terrorism to rationalize everything from suspending Constitutional rights to justifying a record national debt clouds the eyes of most every caring citizen and creates just what the terrorist want; terror. But what really is the danger of terrorism?
First, no rationale human supports terrorism. Secondly, death from such acts creates more hatred than fear among many of those who have lost friends and loved one. Thirdly, Terrorism is a form of war and must be treated as such. Finally, terrorism can never be stopped by violence. Killing the leader or leaders of a terrorist group does not stop the group from committing more atrocities. It may make some who believe an eye of an eye feel better, but it won’t stop the movement over the long haul. The keys to stopping terrorism are negotiations, cultural awareness, and education.
However, the point of this article is not on the pros and cons of terrorism and how it works, but on the cold, sometimes cruel, statistics that it has produced
Realistically, the number of people who are killed by terrorism is beyond small when considering the risk of dying by other causes. There were about 3500 Americans killed by terrorists over the past decade. Add to this the number of American service men and women killed in combat against terrorist and you have a figure of less than 7000 from a population of 300 plus million. In other words, should America’s financial priority be in fighting terrorism or finding solutions to problems that harm far more people?
Now remember that this does not have to be an all or nothing solution. The important consideration is whether or not preventing terrorism is financially worth the current investment, not to mention the manpower implications. And, when does terrorism become a significant enough problem to warrant additional funding?
This table is of deaths from 2003. Compare these figures to the losses due to terrorism and than note that the government spends far more on the war against terrorism than all other areas below.
Motor vehicles and transportation related deaths 48,000
Gun related deaths 29,000
Heart disease: 652,486
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 150,074
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 121,987
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 112,012
Alzheimer’s disease: 65,965
Poor diet and physical inactivity 365,000
Microbial Agents 75,000
Toxic Agents 55,000
Adverse reaction to drugs 32,000
Illicit drug use 17,000
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs 7600
Would the money spent to fight terrorism be better spent reducing one of the above categories? With the election coming soon this might be a good time to provide elected officials with some realistic input.
Does it make anyone feel better to know that the odds of you being killed by a terrorist is 0.0001%?