To all my Facebook friends: this morning I listened to another news broadcast about the tragedy in San Bernardino. I know I should not tune into these types of shows because they usually offer nothing new, instead rehashing “facts” with a bias toward the faction they think they represent. But I did hear two things new.
A young Muslin American, a friend of the male attacker, said he appreciated the part of President Obama’s speech last night where the President called for Americans to not allow the demagogues to lead us to condemn and disenfranchise all Muslims. The young man recalled the last line of the Pledge of Allegiance he had learned in school: “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Later in that same news show, an expert on terrorism said he was a bit confused about the negative reaction of some politicians to President Obama’s mention of the need to prevent people on the terrorist no-fly list from buying guns legally. The expert said he could not understand why lives lost to a terrorist act where somehow more important than lives lost to inner-city gun violence.
I just doubled checked the numbers and the total number of American deaths due to acts of terrorism on US soil in the last decade is 85, including the 14 in San Bernardino. And of that 85, 48 were due to right-wing and white supremacists (here). Strikingly, the total number of gun-deaths in American the last decade is 302,000, though it is impossible to give an exact number because they are happening all the time. This graphic from the CDC includes all American deaths due to terrorism globally since 2001.
I know 2nd amendment folks like to claim otherwise, but the extremely large number of guns in America does have consequences (here and here). Ignoring gun suicides (which of course are much greater in America than in any other country), there are some 11,000 to 13,000 gun homicides in the US each year. And, alarmingly, there are 700 to 800 deaths due to gun accidents each year. And these numbers are from a conservative, 2nd amendment group.(here) Yet the number of crimes and deaths thwarted by citizens carrying guns is almost non-existent (here). Ironically, if the Republicans/NRA allowed the CDC to actually study gun deaths, we might have such information.
My point in this post is that lives do matter, all lives. Not just those lost due to radical Muslim terrorism. And to use the fact that terrorism is increasingly a threat to everyone as a justification to preach divisiveness and hate for fellow Americans is unacceptable. If we are to defeat ISIS and radicalism, including white hate groups, we must be a country undivided.