In Writing

Every single life on Earth is precious, unique, and irreplaceable. I mourn any life lost… even one is too many. So it is not with a casual attitude that I say this: we are being absolutely manipulated by fear. Terrorism is not as bad as the news, politicians and even terrorists would like for you to believe. It is being exploited to make us do certain things that each of those groups want us to do. Certain politicians want us to vote our fears instead of our vision. News channels want us to watch so they can sell us in bigger numbers to their advertisers. Terrorists want us to spur our leaders to be ever more oppressive and militaristic so they can use that as a recruiting tool for their cause.

Attacks seem to happen these days with alarming frequency. The thing that’s terrifying about lone wolf attacks in particular is that they seem to pop up like mushrooms after a rain. It appears that they’re on the rise and we can’t stop them. The carnage is awful to see, and the grief unimaginable. While car bombs and other such things became depressingly familiar after the Iraq War, the attacks on U.S. soil seem new.

But the facts are also important. Because any relatively isolated but grisly event could be made to seem much more prevalent if we slapped it on the 24-hour news channels. Imagine if CNN decided to broadcast graphic pictures of every fatal car crash caused by drunk drivers? Or of every murder perpetrated by a spouse? We’d literally watch nothing else.

Succumbing to either of these things is far more likely than being a victim of terrorism. By far. So are several other things. Numbers so far in the U.S. in 2016:

Drunk driving victims: 18,859
Domestic violence deaths: 814 (this does not include many murders perpetrated by spouses or significant others, just the ones that can be directly attributed to domestic violence)

Some others:

Death by texting while driving: 3,341
Influenza: 30,807
Falling out of bed: 333

Terrorism: 49. And that’s up with an unusual (and horrific spike). In a single incident.

Is it terrible? Yes. Must it stop? Absolutely. But is it as vast and large as you’re being led to believe? No, it isn’t.

When you hear speeches designed to make you feel that things are getting worse and that dangers lurk everywhere, ask yourself what the giver of those speeches stands to gain from your fear. Your compliance? Your willingness to look the other way while he tramples civil rights? And ask yourself if you’d be willing to give those things if you weren’t being manipulated through fear.

terrorism deaths vs gun deaths

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