Here’s What is Killing Millions of Americans
Terrorism! Terrorism! Terrorism! ISIS killed 611,105 Americans in 2013, the last year for which there are CDC statistics. That same year, Osama Bin Laden killed 584,881 Americans, Muammar Gaddafi killed 149,205 and Kim Jong Un killed 130,557. Wait, really? No, of course not; the numbers are correct, but the real killers were heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and unintentional injuries. Multiply those numbers by ten to get an idea of how many Americans they kill in a decade. Looking at it another way, heart disease and cancer EACH kill more Americans DAILY than killed by terrorists in the last 10 years combined. So do suicides, motor vehicle accidents, kidney problems, drug overdoses, blood infections, diabetes, influenza/pneumonia, alcohol, etc.
What’s the moral here? When Americans die unnecessarily thanks to themselves, other Americans or businesses, the government just does not care much at all. Yet if foreigners kill Americans, we will stop at nothing to end the problem. Annually more Americans die building homes, commercial fishing, slipping or farming than from foreign terrorists. But politicians only talk of the four killed in Benghazi. So what’s the answer?
It’s easy. To mobilize Congress and the American people, we just need to rename natural disasters, diseases and major problems after foreign enemies.
We don’t want to be racists or religionists, so let’s increase the scope of our names to bad people present and past. Nazis? They get drug overdoses. Here, read this: “Nazis killed 46,471 Americans in 2013!” What was your first reaction? You wanted to do something about it, right? The Taliban will be the new name for traffic fatalities. Attila is death by alcohol’s new name. Got a cataract? Not anymore. Now you have a Benito Mussolini. If you were a minor bad guy, you get a minor problem named after you. Uh, Silvio “Boom-Boom” Berlusconi, the hard partying Italian Prime Minister? He’s the new name for death by Vending Machine. Napoleon is no longer just a delicious pastry, but death by banana peel.
No longer will natural disasters get innocuous cute names like Katrina, but now we’ll name them after places like Pearl Harbor, Benghazi and the Alamo. Will Congress actually care then? You bet!
As a bonus, maybe we’ll get our kids and our leaders to read a bit more history. So who was that Attila guy after all? Is he really still alive? We can use the same kind of logic on things that don’t kill us, but harm us. We’ll name them after countries. Scratch the War on Poverty. It’s now the War on North Korea. War on Drugs? It’s now the War on Libya. Who else is in the Axis of Evil? Oh yeah, War on Cancer, since another million get it without dying from it, is now War on Iran.
Eventually we’ll create a fear-inspiring naming convention for white-collar crimes too…
I do not make light of Benghazi or the savage barbarity of ISIS, and we should be proactively vigilant against those who would harm us. However, we should further help our Veterans returning home. Our government and we ourselves must do far more to protect our kids and care for our elderly. We must do more to prevent suicides, murder, traffic accidents, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, etc. We must do all that is reasonable to ensure that American workers have great jobs now and in the future. We should worry about our friends, loved ones and other Americans dealing with things massively more harmful than terrorism.
Perspective is in order. For 2014, actual US federal defense spending was $527B, nearly seven times Health and Human Services (which includes Medicare/Medicaid). Homeland Security plus the National Intelligence Program got $87B but Education $71B and Veterans Affairs $63.5B. Think about this: total spending for the Department of Commerce, DOT, NASA, Department of the Interior, natural disasters and the SBA was only $61B.
Let’s stop ignoring the massive problems harming tens of thousands to millions of Americans and really do something about it.
Narayan Sengupta/October 3, 2015