We Killed over forty thousand of each other last year on our nation's highways. Over forty thousand. And a significant part of that was simply due to foolish behavior; as it has been for a long time. Now, however, since drinking and driving are apparently not enough, we try to text and drive. Lovely.
I bring this up not so much to criticize foolish behavior, deserving though it is, but to point out how easily we are led by the nose to focus our fear on things way out of proportion to the the actual threat underlying what's behind the pumped up boogey man. Even as everyday things we take for granted ought be cause for a great deal more concern.
For instance, no matter what you might feel about the important labor contribution that undocumented immigrants might represent, the fact that some of them might also be capable of serious crimes is certainly a possibility. Anything is possible after all, and even if you put a probability factor way above what the statistics actually indicate, the death rate, or injury rate, or destruction of property rate, that might result, would not even be in the same solar system as the death and destruction foolish behavior on our highways causes.
Interesting isn't it that you see no effort by the current administration to build a wall around major freeways in our country, or any interest in hiring virtually an entire new Army division of troops to patrol our freeways.
It gets just as crazy when you consider the threat of extremist religious, or political violence here. At the height of success for such heinous acts, during 9/11, we lost nearly 3 thousand, with another 6 thousand wounded. Which included 265 on four jets, and just over 2,600 from the building impacts.
Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that instead of letting these fanatics dictate the way we live our lives, bringing on massive expenditures to frisk everyone at airports, add an entire new federal agency to guard us, and to launch a war in Iraq that had little to do with the actual perpetrators, we simply implemented very specific, targeted measures to target, track, and go after these people. Measures that better coordinated existing intelligence assets, and local police, as well as the improvements we've made to special operations forces. Let's assume we did that and accepted the fact that it wouldn't, by any means, be leak proof. And let's say these targeted measures were able to do a pretty good job, but that a 9/11 level incident, at least in the terms of total deaths, still occurred every other month, or that smaller incidents occurred more often which were the equivalent of a 9/11 every other month. That would equate to a death rate six times what 9/11 caused; so let's call it 6 times 3000 just to stay with round numbers, for a total of 18k dead each year.
Eighteen thousand as opposed to forty thousand. And yet we allow ourselves to whipped into frenzies of fear one can only gape at dumbfounded. We allow the way we live our lives to become more restricted, more closed down, and absolutely less free.
I won't travel anymore by airline precisely because it is an affront to my sense as a free American to live so fearfully (and allowing such humiliations; being frisked, full cavity searches etc). What kind of different statement would we make to those who hate us if we took pride in living as we were meant to live no matter how many of us they killed? Freedom is supposed to have a price, but it's not simply within the framework of military type patriotism, important though that might also be.
What I am talking about here is realizing that life, or a fully led life, is anything but safe. Sure, you can take, and you ought to take, reasonable measures to limit risks. That's just being practical, and empathetic, but none of that, in any way, will ever eliminate the fact that shit happens, and will continue to happen, because there will always be only so much you can account for ahead of time in trying to lessen the risks.
The bottom line here, then, is that you have a choice. Do I spend most of my time actually living, or do I spend most of my time trying to prevent something I am afraid will happen.
The problem here is that "safe," and being sold on "safe," is both a profitable new product, as well as an abundantly useful tool in the toolbox of the despots, dictators, and authoritarians of the world. And the main thing it sells, as far as that list of people are concerned, is control. Wonderful, profit saturated, control. And we let them pawn it off on us like children in the street confronted by the guy who say's "I have candy."
All I can say, when I hear of these relative statistics, and how it all just blows by us without any real thought, or consideration, is shame on us. Shame on all of us! We are better than this. Or at least we were. One is left to wonder if we've been on the manipulation of fear merry-go-round for so long now that it is all we know anymore. And if that is indeed the case then this great experiment of a country is already over. We're just so fearful of reading our mail anymore that nobody's likely to get that memo until the center finally does let go.