Monday, August 12, 2002

Less than a month until the first anniversary of September 11, so it's as good a time as any for a couple of reality checks to keep it in perspective. This is not to deman the horror and suffering of the attacks, only to go beyond the simplification of the mainstream media.

First of all, more Americans die from food poisoning each year than died in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks (the Centers for Disease Control estimates 5,000 Americans die of food poisoning each year). About 40,000 Americans die of gunfire each year, while slightly more die of Alzheimers. Almost 100,000 Americans per year die in accidents, while over 700,000 die of heart disease. In other words, far more Americans die at each other's hands (thanks to guns or drunk driving) or of disease than are killed by al-Qaeda. And yet the constant stream of headlines each morning suggests that terrorists are the primary threat to our existence and happiness.
CDC stats:

I e-mailed Rick Shenkman, a history professor at George Mason University who runs the left-leaning History News Network, and asked him what he thought was the greatest myth about September 11. Here's his thorough answer.
From Chimes: Sept. 11 not a turning point.

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