More Americans Killed by Bees and Wasps or Falling Televisions than by Terrorists

Sunday, June 10, 2012
(photo: Wim van Egmond,
Fear, an emotion often only tenuously tethered to reality, arises from the belief that danger is near, whether it really is or not, and can be created and manipulated by those in power. Fear of terrorism is a case in point. Since the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has stoked fears of terrorism, even as government statistics released last week demonstrate these fears are overblown.
Since 9/11, a total of 238 American citizens have died from terrorist attacks, or an average of 24 per year, although only 15 Americans died in 2010 and 17 in 2011—none of them in the United States and almost all of them in Afghanistan or Iraq, where the U.S. has been waging wars for a decade. Thus out of 25,719 terrorism-related deaths worldwide in 2010-2011, Americans accounted for only 0.124%. This is consistent with the fact that the total number of attacks worldwide in 2011 dropped by nearly 12 percent from 2010 and nearly 29 percent from 2007.
To put these numbers in perspective, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the average American is as likely to be crushed to death by televisions or furniture as they are to be killed by a terrorist. In fact, between 2000 and 2010, 293 Americans died because a television, furniture piece or appliance fell on them, 55 more than died of terrorism between 2001 and 2011. Likewise, an average of more than 40 Americans are killed each year because of allergic reactions to stings by bees, wasps and hornets.
Instead, by far the biggest threat to Americans is themselves. According to a recent World Health Organization report, noncommunicable diseases like cancer, lung disorders, diabetes and heart disease cause 87 percent of all American deaths, compared with 64 percent in the rest of the world. Such diseases are primarily caused by smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and alcohol abuse, which means that Americans are killing themselves at a far greater rate than any terrorist organization could ever desire.
-Matt Bewig
To Learn More:
How Many Americans Are Killed by Terrorism? (by Micah Zenko, Council on Foreign Relations)
2011 Report on Terrorism (National Counterterrorism Center) (pdf)
Instability of Televisions, Furniture, and Appliances: Estimated Injuries and Reported Fatalities, 2011 (by Kevin Gipson and Adarn Suchy, (U.S. Proidcut Safety Commission) (pdf)
Consumer Product-Related Statistics (Consumer Product Safety Commission)


Scoo 7 years ago
You seem to be speaking of irrational fears...the kind mentioned by FDR. 'The only thing you have to fear is fear itself'...that's a phobia. The fear itself is about being killed. Dwelling on it irrationally leads to pointless phobias regarding lack of control neverending.
Peter 9 years ago
The idea of terror is not to kill but to invoke terror. Globally a lot of people ARE killed by terror, but many many more are affected. If your church is bombed (like we see in eg. Iraq) you might not die but you are still affected. Murder is just one of the means of terrorism. Don't forget the rest. And don't forget that terrorism is a Global problem - not an American problem.

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