According to the National Safety Council, the odds of dying from heart disease and cancer is 1 in 7. Reporting from Business Insider, the odds of dying from all forms of terrorism is 1 in 45,808. And the odds from dying from a terrorist attack from a refugee is 1 in over 46 million and from an illegal immigrant is 1 in over 138 million.
Eight years later and here we are again forced to deal with fear being propagated by the White House. Trump is obsessed, and seemingly terrified, by immigration and refugees seeking to relocate. His constant tweeting about the overturn of his travel ban called it, “SO DANGEROUS” and “THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” If fact, the Trump administration is so dedicated to scaring Americans that it created a fake terrorist attack, The Bowling Green Massacre, to instill fear of the unknown and unreported.
Terrorism is scary. People fear terrorism because it is random, unpredictable and people are often left feeling powerless. I have had more than one nightmare that entails me running from a shooter. Terrorism works precisely because of the emotion it creates drives irrational responses. Patrick Kennedy said, “Terrorism is a psychological warfare. Terrorists try to manipulate us and change our behavior by creating fear, uncertainty, and division in society.”
Terrorists succeed when countries turn on themselves and manipulate its politics through fear.
I’m not being dismissive. A terrorist attack could occur, and it could be horrible. It is unsettling to know that at any time, in any venue, something terrible could happen. There is also the difference from a coordinated terrorist attack that kills hundreds and lone wolf spree shootings that attack dozens. Either way, we should do everything we reasonably can do to prevent mass killings or shooting by anyone or any organization.
The thing is, at least in regards to refugees and illegal immigrants, the process works. To declare that drastic measures, like a Muslim ban, is necessary for the safety of our country is, statistically and frankly ridiculous. It is even more ridiculous when you factor that the last major terrorist attack was the result of individuals primarily from Saudi Arabia, one country that was not included in the travel ban.
Refugees, in particular, are well vetted over a couple of years and generally have no say as to which country they will be sent. These are people fleeing their country because of tragedy—war or fear of persecution. As many have said, the refugee program would be a poor route for a terrorist.
Recently in the news, a 14-year-old Cleveland girl was taken and killed on her way to school. In Columbus, a 21-year-old college student was found murdered in a park. In Lorain, a man was killed while going through a fast food restaurant drive thru.
Of preventable deaths, last year over 3,000 people died from drug overdoses in Ohio alone. In 2015, there were over 38,000 motor vehicle deaths across the country. Death by suicide numbers over 45,000 annually.
The point is that statistics do not provide a rational argument for changing our travel security procedures. There are many more things that people can do, individually, and without increased government intervention, to make our country safer. And if that government money was spent on treatment and prevention drug programs, for example, many thousands of lives could be saved—compared to the near non-existent crimes committed by illegal immigration and refugees.
We just need to keep things in perspective. I think everyone supports reasonable efforts to keep our country and its citizens safe. It’s just not ever acceptable to create artificial fears to justify the political discrimination of racial, ethnic or religious groups.
Less steak, more kale.