Fear of Terrorism Inverse to Actual Threat

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


As you may have heard, there’s this self-contradicting and rather paranoid dude out there, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who’s holding a Congressional hearing tomorrow on the dangers of homegrown terrorists. Not the Timothy McVeigh, Jared Loughner, or Unabomber kinds of terrorists: the real ones. The Muslim ones. (Cue ominous music here) But King’s hearing isn’t the only one on terrorists in the US: Far from it. From 2004 to 2011 there have been approximately 933 Congressional hearings on terrorism, despite the fact that terrorism only kills around 30 US citizens a year, and that includes Americans killed overseas. Instead, heart disease remains the #1 killer of Americans, killing around 600,000 of us every year. Terrorism, on the other hand, is a negligible death threat. You’re about 45 times more likely to accidentally poison yourself than you are to be the victim of a deliberate terrorist. As a 66-year-old white male, King is much more likely to die from heart disease or cancer than he is from terrorism. But good to know he’s keeping an eye out, just in case.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t have concerns about terrorism. Of course we should. 9/11 was a horrible tragedy and we should do what we can to prevent something similar from happening again. But the fact remains that the #1 killer of Americans is at least partially preventable, and we don’t seem to be that concerned about it. At least, not that much compared to terrorism. Charts below.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stat note: Numbers for death chart are as of 2007, most recent year for which US Census mortality data was available. Numbers for Congressional hearing chart are results of Congressional LexisNexis searches.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate