Al Qaeda injures or kills 1.2 million Americans every year

May 22, 2012 | By | 4 Replies More

Ooops. What I meant to say was that because Americans choose to text or talk while driving, Americans cause 1.2 million traffic accidents per year. Many of these accidents cause serious injuries and deaths. As the linked article states, many of these tragedies are caused by people who are yapping or texting while on-the-job for an American business.

I’m waiting to hear our politicians announce a war on cell phone use while driving–an all-out war employing check points, high tech surveillance and violations of fundamental civil liberties.

This war won’t happen, though, because these injuries, like 99% of the problems America currently faces (these things include wildly out-0f-control obesity, repealing Glass-Steagall and gutting the First Amendment) are self-inflicted. Further, our calculus for deciding public policy is mostly geared to finding an other to blame. In America, a tragedy caused by someone deemed to be an outsider is 1,000 times more “serious” than a tragedy caused by an American. The needless injuries and deaths due to cell phone use constitute Exhibit A.


Category: Statistics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    Great article, Erich! Indeed, America is the Land of the Free-to-Blame-Someone-Else.

    It goes along with taking credit for things we didn’t do. Like when Willard Romney claims credit for saving the American auto industry, when in fact he vigorously opposed the restructuring plan. Or, as I am now seeing here in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker (who is facing a recall election for his radical, unilateral, anti-union legislation) is taking credit for every single Wisconsin job that was “created” during his two years in office, without regard for the fact that he has spent a large chunk of his time outside the state soliciting campaign donations…or the fact that the national economic recovery — made possible by federal stimulus money — has been a big factor in nationwide job growth. Yup, Americans do a great job of finding people to blame and credit to steal, whichever suits their purpose.

  2. Adam Herman says:

    There is no national economic recovery. Recovery has been centered on Tea Party run states, and only since Jan. 2011, while Democratic-run states have mostly stayed in the economic doldrums. Look it up:

    You’ll find that unemployment is dropping fast in places like Florida, Texas, Michigan, and Nevada, while dropping much more slowly in places like Illinois and California.

    Anyway, back to the original subject, I think the larger lesson here is that people are not willing to surrender their freedoms even to save thousands of lives. Unless it’s terrorism. If people were as jealous of their freedoms when faced with terrorism as they are when faced with the carnage on our roads, we’d be er, freer.

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:


    If you look at the data, you may notice that the TEA Party states you mention had significant reductions in the size of the labor force, while the California had a major increase in the labor force and Illinois had a relative stable labor force.
    Michigan witnessed a major drop in size of its labor force during the Bush administration, probably due to massive layoffs in Detroit.

    In places where the size of the work force is drastically reduced, an absolutely small number of hirings carries a higher percentage.

    Put it this way,
    Pelham, Tennessee (population approx. 2000) is a tiny town near a Toyota engine factory. Spring Hill, Tennessee Population approx. 30,000 ) is the location of a GM auto assembly plant. To keep the math simple, assume both towns have a 10 percent unemployment rates to start with. That translates to 200 unemployed in Pelham, and 3000 people unemployed in Spring Hill.
    If the Toyota plant increases production by hiring 80 people to staff two 12-hr weekend shifts, the unemployment rate in Pelham drops to 6 percent. IF the Spring Hill plant hires 300 people to staff a night shift 40 hours per week, the unemployment rate in Spring Hill only drops to 9 percent.

    Obviously, the unemployment rates alone do not reflect the health of the economy.

    Now, back on topic.
    Terrorism as a political strategy depends heavily on the media to create a mass hysteria. This means that the tabloid characteristics common in our media outlets are complicit in act of terrorism. I might die today from a blast from a suicide bomber at my local grocery store, or I might be killed by a driver too drunk to realize he is driving on the sidewalk instead of the street. The question is, which of these two events is more likely.

    About 14 years ago, on a Saturday, around 10 AM, a friend of mine was crossing Murfreesboro Rd in Nashville, with his son Afif. This street is usually fairly empty on Saturdays, but on this morning, a drunk driver, having been thrown out of one bar, was in a hurry to get to the next watering hole, and pulled into the turn lane at about 80 mph, apparently intent on beating a yellow light. According to the police crime scene unit, Afif was knocked out of his sneakers and killed instantly, his body being thrown over 200 feet down the street before hitting the ground. The driver, who tested well above the legal limit, did not hit the brakes until after hitting Afif. Afif was ten years old.

    His parents were very distraught, and his father saw his son killed right before his eyes. About a week later, a DUI defense lawyer representing the driver, threatened Afif’s father with a wrongful death lawsuit (for letting Afif run in front of the driver, aparently) if the criminal charges were not dropped. Afif’s family are Lebanese immigrants.

    In 2004, a man in my neighborhood was arrested in an anti terrorist sting operation. Even considering these facts, I still think it thousands of times more likely that I might be killed by a drunk driver than a terrorist.

  4. Adam Herman says:

    I had another thought(Wait, don’t leave!):

    Despite the existence of driving regulations, they are so poorly enforced that thousands of people still die. If there was a business regulation not being enforced that caused that many deaths, Americans would form a lynching party. It’s interesting how tolerant we are of lax enforcement when it’s us. In fact, we’re quite intolerant of zealous enforcement of traffic regulation.

Leave a Reply