Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Very Small Figure

Trey Smith

Back in 2011, Charles Kurzman, a University of North Carolina professor of sociology, remarked,
Muslim American terrorist plots have killed since 9/11 — since the 3,000 killed on 9/11 — have killed 33 individuals in the United States since that time. Over that same period of time, there have been more than 150,000 murders in the United States, or 14 or 15,000 murders every year. Muslim American terrorism, then, has been a very small, very low percentage of the overall violence in the United States.
I don't know what the exact figure is as of today, but it remains miniscule compared to most other ways people are killed. An American is more likely to die from being struck by lightening, drowning, slipping in the bathtub or falling victim to a food-borne illness than to die from a Muslim terrorist attack. Heck, each of us has far greater chance of being killed by a white male in a mass shooting!

And yet, despite the fact that terrorist-related deaths in the US are abysmally low, our entire lives are impacted in one way or another by this supposed threat. If not for the economic angle -- something I have discussed frequently -- it makes no sense at all.

What is even more insane is that we don't apply the same vigilance to those acts that result in much higher annual death tolls. Suggest that we place even a few minor restrictions on gun sales and too many people fly into a tizzy. Suggest that more regulation and effort go into insuring that our workplaces are safer and too many people say that is a step too far. Suggest that all sorts of pollution or food additives are killing people before their time and too many people call you some kind of hippie kook.

But suggest that we need to give away our constitutional rights and spend the vast majority of our taxpayers dollars to minimize a minimal threat and too many people say, "For our safety and peace of mind, it's worth the price."

It's baffling.

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