The recent attacks in Paris and San Bernadino have many Americans feeling vulnerable and, if the media is even somewhat successful at selling their hyperbolic message, pissing their pants. I’m here to help you keep the undies dry, folks. There is no reason to panic.
For starters, the attack in California that left 14 dead was perpetrated by a married couple without any proven ties to ISIS. They were ISIS-sympathizers, meaning they were diehard fans but weren’t taking orders from ISIS. That may change as the investigation continues, but as of now there are no direct ties. They took it upon themselves to be assholes. Which means America has not been attacked by ISIS.
So why are Americans afraid?
Well, the most obvious reason is that Americans live in fucking America; an-overly religious, increasingly poorly-educated country where fear wins elections and shapes public policy. A place where the 24-hour news cycle pumps out horror story after horror story dripping with hyperbole in order to compete for ratings. The goal, of course, is to make you afraid so you keep watching (hellooooo advertising!), to keep the same politicians in office (because who wants change when change is scary?) and to justify the continued terrorist acts committed by our own military-industrial complex.
Hey, if you don’t think killing 100,000+ Iraqi civilians, committing acts of torture, holding prisoners without due process, and killing 500 civilians via drone strikes aren’t objectively acts of terror then… well, we’ll have to agree to disagree. GOOGLE IT.
Recall how after 9-11 most voters were fine with invading a country that had nothing to do with the NYC attack. The Patriot Act passed with ease, eroding civil liberties and paving the way for measures like the NSA’s secret phone surveillance system. FEAR allowed these things to happen. Thankfully we’ve (mostly) left Iraq, the Patriot Act expired mid-2015, and the NSA was also shut down. But wow did we allow a shitload of bullshit for over a decade, eh??
So now we have that old fear creeping back in, plus there’s an upcoming Presidential election. If you believe the nonsense the Republican clown car has been espousing, Obama is handing over America to ISIS. That’s why idiots like Trump barely take a hit in the polls with dangerous anti-Muslim rhetoric. Because, and I’ll say it again, fear wins elections.
For the sake of avoiding hysteria and a repeat of history, here are a few statistics to add perspective to the ISIS threat (or lack thereof).
In 2015, police in America have killed over 1000 citizens. 20% of whom were unarmed. (Source: The Guardian) While the other 800 certainly deserve investigation, let’s focus on the 200 that were definitely unjustifiably killed.
American cops have therefore killed 50 times more Americans and in half the time compared to the number of Americans killed by ISIS in the past two years.
That number ISIS killed, just to be clear, is four. James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller. FOUR.
Not to diminish their tragic deaths, but there are 320 million Americans. 4 out of 320 million comes out to .0000013% of the population in the United States. And all four victims happened to be in the middle-east, in areas that carried extreme risk (namely the Turkish-Syrian border). They were all doing brave humanitarian work and/or field reporting, but let’s be honest. Nobody in their right minds should have been there. Brave, yes. But also borderline-suicidal.
So here’s the all-important number to keep in mind: Zero Americans have been killed by ISIS within the United States. Zero.
By comparison, guess how many Americans have been killed from lightning in 2015?
So… yeah. You’re safe. Well, at least from ISIS anyway.