These days, you might get searched at the airport by some swaggering moron who probably couldn’t get a job doing anything else that didn’t involve asking. “You want fries with that?’
Or you might get your door kicked in at 3am by cops who look disturbingly like the bad guys from Star Wars. While they taser you and hold your kids at gunpoint so they can check under your bed for “terrorists,” you can reflect that “freedom isn’t free” and this is all part of our friendly service to protect you from the "terrorist threat."
If you happen to ask about your rights – warrants, probable cause and all that quaint stuff – then just before some masked bully butt-strokes you into oblivion, you’ll probably get this all-purpose answer shouted hoarsely and brainlessly in your ear: “Nine-Eleven!”
The cry of the faithful.
Our version of “allahu akbar.”
Yes, yes. We lost a lot of people on Sept 11, 2001.
3000 or so, including 363 of my brother firefighters.
And if we ever decide to find out who was responsible for that arson/mass murder and prosecute them, I hope the guilty parties wind up spending several lifetimes in the joint.
But with all this shoe-sniffing for explosives and indefinitely detaining anyone who passes gas during the National Anthem, with billions and billions of dollars --- YOUR dollars – going to fight the "war on terrorism," you might suppose there are whole armies of terrorists, taking out innocent Americans in big bloody batches on every Main Street in every Hometown in the good old US of A.
Well, there aren’t
But I can tell you what is taking us out.
Heart disease killed 631,636 innocent Americans in 2006, according to figures from the CDC. For those of you whose minds have been turned to mush by incessant war propaganda and no longer have any other reference point, that’s the equivalent of more than two hundred 9-11’s.
Cancer murdered 559,888 Americans, including women and children. There’s another, well, almost a couple hundred 9-11’s, right there.
Between just those two diseases, that’s one 9-11 each and every day of the year – with a lots of extras thrown in for holidays like Christmas.
Cerebrovascular diseases (strokes) took out 137,119 of our family, friends and neighbors.
Chronic lower respiratory diseases killed 124,583; accidents 121,599; diabetes 72,449; Alzheimer's 72,432; influenza and pneumonia: 56,326 (puts that swine flu “threat into a little perspective, doesn’t it?) ; nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis chalked up 45,344 kills.
Septicemia, batting last, nailed 34,234 people.
That’s the top ten.
Not just that year or this year.
But every year.
Doesn’t even get an “honorable mention.”
But where’s the “war” on these diseases?
Where are the billions and billions of dollars to find the cave where breast cancer is hiding?
How about mammagrams at the airport instead of confiscating your nail clippers as a deadly weapon?
Why aren’t we funding a fight against these remorseless killers instead of bankrolling an overkill effort against a “threat” that doesn’t even move the needle on the bodycount scale?
Because war is sexy and righteous and righteous and sexy.
And medical research?
Well, hell, that’s just about saving lives.
This is America.