Nobody can watch the video of the bombing of Ariana Grande’s in Manchester – a concert attended by innocent youth – and not be shocked at the carnage. No reasonable person can fathom the thinking that convinces a man to strap on an explosive – designed to inflict the maximum suffering – and blow himself up in a crowd. The depravity – and pointlessness of it – are shocking.

But we must maintain a sense of proportion.

In America, there are 16,000 murders a year. The equivalent of 727 Manchester bombings. The CDC reports 99,000 die from healthcare-associated infections. A study by Johns Hopkins estimates that 250,000 people die annually due to medical errors. And Canadians live three years on average longer than Americans.

Yet we worry far more about the ridiculously remote possibility of dying in a terrorist attack, then we do about dying from all of the things that actually kill us. The top two of which are heart disease and cancer – accounting for almost half of all deaths.

It is unfathomable why politicians, who casually lobby for billions to be added to the Pentagon budget, propose slashing the budget of the National Institutes of Health. The Chinese aren’t going to attack us. Not militarily anyway. Why should they? Economically they are eating our lunch.

The Monroe Doctrine warned Europeans that the United States would not tolerate any new colonialism in the Western Hemisphere. But now the Chinese are engaged in economic colonialism in South America – and Africa for that matter – and we don’t seem to pay it the least regard.

But back to what kills Americans. Let’s consider Alzheimer’s (#6 on the list). It kills 94,000 and devastates the lives of both the victim and his family – usually for years. Let’s research the hell of that the causes of, and cures for, that catastrophic disease.

Or how about diabetes (#7)? Type 2 accounts for 95% of cases and is closely linked with obesity and lack of exercise. Yet when Michele Obama instituted her ‘Let’s Move’ program challenging America’s youth to get active and schools to provide healthier food, the Republicans reacted as if she had invited ISIS in America’s back door.

Cleaner air and water, food safety inspections, and mandated testing for drugs have reduced deaths. But the same politicians who would throw billions at fighting terrorism rail against business regulation. I can only assume that to them profit takes precedence over people. And of course business money talks.

It’s not that we haven’t addressed death in America. Despite the whining of corporations, we finally banned lead in paint and gasoline. Anti-smoking campaigns have halved the number of smokers. M.A.D.D’s campaigns led to a 75% reduction in the rate of drunk driving deaths. Mandatory seatbelt and airbag laws – as well as federally mandated safety tests – have slashed the rate of traffic fatalities.

Death gets little airtime – or much consideration in government. Unless it is spectacular. A video of a shark attack will dominate newscasts. And if a plane crashes, CNN won’t talk about anything else for a week. Meanwhile, statistically, no American will die in a terrorist attack, an airplane crash or from a shark bite.

We cannot let our battle against terrorism blind us to the fact that there is much that can be done to make a meaningful difference to the life expectancy of Americans.



Donald Trump Campaigns To Be Sadist In Chief.

March 30, 2016

“The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.’ – Carl Jung Donald Trump’s campaign has taken a turn for the worse – and who knew there was a worse? He is now threatening to ban all abortions and punish women who get one. It is a frightening […]

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Republicans React Badly to the Brussels Attacks.

March 24, 2016

“The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?” ― George Orwell, 1984 (Update: There have been American fatalities. But the essence of the story doesn’t change) […]

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You Won’t Die in a Terrorist Attack. Americans Don’t Understand Odds.

December 12, 2015

More Republicans (50% vs. 45%) are worried about dying in a terrorist attack than they are about dying from gun violence. Statistically, that’s absurd. Even in 2001, the number of Americans killed by terrorism didn’t come close to the number of Americans murdered by guns. The terror attacks of 9/11 killed 2,689 Americans (excluded are non-citizens); homicide by gun […]

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The GOP Actively Recruits for ISIS.

December 6, 2015

“God has no religion.” ― Mahatma Gandhi Republicans have ISIS derangement syndrome. They obsess about death by terrorist – despite the incredibly remote possibility of that. Yet they go out of their way to increase the possibility. If there were a list of the best practices to promote terrorism, the GOP checks every box. Let’s […]

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The Politics of Paranoia. How Conservatives Use Fear to Win Votes.

November 17, 2015

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ― Plato The hysterical right is all over the media, warning us of the apocalyptic danger of ISIS. Obama holds the door open to Islamofascists. Liberals molly-coddle Satan’s stormtroopers. We […]

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ISIS Strikes Paris. Conservatives Pile On.

November 14, 2015

The ISIS attacks on Paris have brought predictable reactions. The rabid right has used yet another tragedy to excoriate the President, promote promiscuous gun ownership and lobby for more, direct, American involvement in the Middle East. Let’s dismiss the criticism of the President. It is hackneyed, partisan and boring. Altogether unhelpful. Then there the ‘more […]

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Really? – 2.17.15. – Ignorance shouldn’t be contagious; Is money drowning politics?; Heroin’s new geography; Dr. Strangelove resurfaces in Arkansas.

February 16, 2015

Ignorance is a celebration. Anti-intellectualism is a badge worn by conservatives with pride. How many politicos do we need to hear say “I’m not a scientist” without consulting a scientist, before we suspect that ignorance is their shield? Kanye West has added his voice. I do not know West’s politics, but he is a soul mate […]

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Really 1/7/14? – God and Murder; God and Planes; God and Mistakes

January 7, 2015

“Difference in opinions has cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine.” ― Jonathan Swift. Twelve people were killed by Islamic terrorists in an attack on a French satirical magazine. The motivation for the slaughter was a […]

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