I’m trying to follow politics less and less these days… not to the point where I’ll be rendered ignorant, mind you. But so much of it is beyond frustrating and so little of it is within my control. That being said, I fell back into my old ways and researched the cost of the so called “War on Terror” (an absurdly abstract concept since you cannot wage war on a state of being). Most people know that we spend far too much on National Defense (nearly 1/4 of the entire budget), but some naively believe we should spend even more (cough REPUBLICANS cough).
Here’s a little perspective…
Based on data collected between 2005-2011, the average number of American citizens killed due to terrorism comes out to 16 deaths per year. Yet in just 2012 we spent $900+ billion dollars on national defense. The whole point of defense, of course, is to protect American lives. Was that much money really necessary? Can we afford to up the risk factor a little bit?
Yeah, I think so.
Do I want more Americans to die from terrorism? Of course not. But the financial cost and the paranoia is off the charts. Here’s a couple statistics:
- The annual number of people killed by lightning… 44.
- The annual number of peanut allergy deaths… 100.
The danger of being killed by a peanut is six times greater than that of being killed by a terrorist. And the danger of being killed by that peanut over twice as great as being hit by lightning.
Think about that for a moment.
Yet how many news agencies and politicians are always telling us that we must sacrifice more money and more liberties in the name of security? Even now, the NSA is spying on our phone calls, emails, snail mail, txt messages, etc… and all in the name of terrorism. Richard Nixon was impeached for wire-tapping a rival political party. Now our entire population is being illegally surveilled.
How is this allowed to continue? Well, it doesn’t help that 37% of Americans APPROVE of the NSA program. Almost more disturbing is that 10% had no opinion.
My bottom line is, and this is hardly a revolutionary opinion, is that we really need to prioritize the spending of our tax dollars, especially in regards to the “War on Terror”, and cease our ridiculous level of fear.
I mean, we have 16 Americans dying per year because of terrorists. Right? Okay. Well what if I told you we had 75,000 dying EVERY YEAR due to alcohol-related incidents? And that’s not a global death count, that’s just in the United States. But there’s no “War on Booze”, is there? Can you imagine if we spent $900 billion on something like that? People would riot! But “War on Terror” includes the word “Terror”. And everyone hates feeling terror. But hey, they love booze! Amazing what a little wordplay can do to instill fear in the masses, isn’t it?
Even with all those deaths, alcohol is legal. The American people are completely accepting of that sacrifice so they can continue to have the freedom of getting drunk. And I concur. Yet those same people seem perfectly accepting of all the defense spending on a threat that is extremely minimal by comparison. 75,000 dead from alcohol, 3,000 dead from 9-11. Mathematically speaking, that makes alcohol 25 THOUSAND TIMES more deadly than the worst terrorist attack our nation has ever faced in our entire history.
Now compare that to the annual number of marijuana deaths.
Yet we spend $20 billion per year on marijuana prohibition. Twenty. Billlion. Twenty billion to “protect us” from something that cannot kill us. In 2011 we arrested one person every 42 seconds for marijuana-related crimes. That’s textbook insanity.