To the editor:
As I read Mr. Jack Wagner’s “letter to the editor” published in the May 31, 2017, issue of the Pine Island Eagle, I found myself wondering why we are so obsessed by the thought of terrorism while we seem to ignore the many more serious issues here at home.
First, let me assure everyone that I believe that a single death to terrorism is too many. Each attack is frightening and the results, heart-breaking. But, I ask everyone to consider these facts. Each one undeniable and verifiable by anyone with a computer and access to the Internet.
In the period from 2001 and 2013, the latest period where accurate numbers are available, an annual average of 11,780 Americans died by gun violence and that excludes deaths by suicide and those killed by police. If you add in all firearm deaths, nearly 30,000 people die every year. Our president offers zero gun control measures while he and nearly all Republican Congresspersons accepted huge political contributions from the National Rifle Association.
Every year, 7,300 American Veterans commit suicide while Trump proposes massive cuts to the veteran’s suicide hotline. In addition, nearly 50,000 American veterans are homeless with no action by the White House.
Nearly 24,000 infant deaths occur every year while Trump chooses to defund “Planned Parent-hood”.
Almost 50,000 Americans die every year from drug overdose and Trump does not even acknowledge that there is a problem.
26,000 Americans die every year attributed directly to the lack of affordable health insurance. Yet Trump insists on eliminating the “Affordable Care Act.”
Finally, 3,200 Americans die annually from driving while on their cell phones and I offered this last statistic only to help bring the final one into perspective. During the same 12-year period from 2001 to 2013, an annual average of 219 Americans have died at the hands of Terrorists. “219.”
Should we be concerned with terrorism? You bet. But if we cannot fairly look at all of the many issues affecting our country and be able to direct our focus, energy and assets responsibly, we still let the terrorists win. We cannot all but ignore the 122,000 avoidable and tragic deaths every year while we direct 100 percent of our efforts to preventing 219.
One final stat. We have the strongest, best trained, most powerful military on earth. We spend more on our military than the next 20 countries combined, 18 of which are our allies. And yet, the only significant line item increased in Trump’s 2018 budget is for the military and it is a very significant increase. All while spreading fear and false information with which to justify it.
I have to wonder, as the most powerful country in history, when did we start reacting to every unsubstantiated threat out of fear? Or worse, the fear of someone’s religion when different from our own?
America is, for the post part, a Christian country while we have more than our share of individuals committing unthinkable crimes. We do not, however, point to the church on the corner as being responsible.