Op Ed: The Leading Causes Of Death In The U.S.

Before we run around with our hair on fire worrying about international terrorism, let’s look at the leading causes of death in the U.S. on an annual basis.

The below information comes from medicalnewstoday.com and is from the year 2013, which was the most recent year data was available. The number is deaths on an annual basis from 2013.

  1. Heart disease:  611,105 deaths per year.
  2. Cancer (malignant neoplasms):  584,881 deaths.
  3. Chronic lower respiratory disease.  This includes such diseases as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma:    149,205 deaths.
  4. Accidents (unintentional injuries):  130,557 deaths.
  5. Stroke cerebrovascular diseases):  128,978 deaths.
  6. Alzheimer’s disease:  84,767 deaths.
  7. Diabetes (diabetes mellitus):  75,578 deaths.
  8. Influenza and pneumonia:  56,979 deaths.
  9. Kidney disease (nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis):  47,112 deaths.
  10. Suicide (intentional self-harm):  41,149 deaths.

Terrorism didn’t make the top 10.  According to the website medhealth.com, terrorism doesn’t make the top 25 causes of death in the U.S., and the top 25 includes things like accidental firearms discharge and falls from buildings.

So, apparently, you are more likely to die from accidentally discharging a gun or falling from a building than to die from terrorism.

By the same token, the US spends more than $500 million per victim on anti-terrorism efforts, according to the group Think by Numbers. Cancer research spending is only $10,000 per victim.

This gives perspective.  For example, some news channels have been talking about the recent terrorist attacks in France on a 24-hour basis.  Shouldn’t we be discussing heart disease with that same fervor?

Some might argue that “there’s nothing we can do about heart disease, but we can do something about terrorism.” This simply isn’t true. Experts say that we can lower our risk of heart disease by eating a healthy diet and lowering our stress levels.

So, where is the “war on heart disease,” complete with 24-hour cable TV coverage?





MSNBC Interviews Boy Who Was Arrested For Building A Clock


According to Crooks And Liars, while most of us were busy watching the Republican debate last night, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was interviewing Ahmed Mohamed, the young man who was arrested for bringing his home-made clock to school.

“I felt like I was a criminal, I felt like I was a terrorist, I felt like all the names I was called. In middle school I was called a terrorist and a bomb-maker just because of my race. And my religion,” Mohamed said.

Apparently they had no intention of believing anything he said, writes Crooks And Liars.

“They asked me a couple of times if it’s a bomb. I answered them both times that it’s a clock.”

Worst of all, when they put him in an “interrogation room” in the school, they wouldn’t let him call his parents, leaving him to suffer through an interrogation with no representation and no one in the room as a witness.

“However, it’s not all terrible news,” writes Crooks And Liars.   Even though the Irving, TX, mayor won’t apologize to Ahmed or his family, others have stepped up to the plate.  President Obama invited him to the White House for an astronomy night…



Police Mistook Student’s Clock For Bomb

The Dallas Morning News

A high school student in Texas named Ahmed Mohamed built a clock that authorities mistook for a bomb.

The Dallas Morning News writes:

The teacher kept the clock. When the principal and a police officer pulled Ahmed out of sixth period, he suspected he wouldn’t get it back.

They led Ahmed into a room where four other police officers waited. He said an officer he’d never seen before leaned back in his chair and remarked: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”

Ahmed felt suddenly conscious of his brown skin and his name — one of the most common in the Muslim religion. But the police kept him busy with questions.

“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed said.

“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”

“He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”

USA Today writes that President Obama invited him to the White House.

“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?,” @POTUS tweeted. “We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

Mohamed is a  freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving.  He was suspended and Irving police handcuffed, questioned and detained him, then let him go, according to USA Today.


Obama Reportedly Searching For New Sites To House Guantanamo Inmates

In this file photo, reviewed by the U.S. Military, guards escort a detainee carrying a book from the library trailer to the detention facility in an open air common area at Camp Delta 4 in Guantanamo Bay.

According to the AP, President Barack Obama will soon present a new plan to close the Guantanamo detention center in an attempt to finally fulfill a pledge made the first day of his first term in office.

However, defenseone.com states that the White House plan to close the military prison in Guantanamo Bay looks like it’s not coming anytime soon.

A survey meant to determine which U.S. military or civilian prisons might receive the war-on-terror detainees is only at “step one,” writes defenseone.com. The news organization claims that the information comes from a senior Pentagon official who offered new details about the weeks-old assessment effort.

However, even the most vocal advocates for shuttering the prison are concerned that closure will simply mean creating a “Guantanamo north,” moving detainees to a less high-profile location, while continuing to hold them indefinitely.

“Guantanamo is a symbol of injustice because many of the men there have been imprisoned without charge or trial for more than a decade,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Moving the men to a prison in the United States won’t address this injustice; it will just create a new Guantanamo in place of the old one.”

Meanwhile, an effort to thin out the detainee population appears to have bogged down as authorities figure out what to do with those who cannot easily be brought to trial but are considered too dangerous to free, writes the Associated Press (AP). Also, there are some who have been cleared for release but can’t be sent to their home countries.

Expected to be submitted soon to Congress, the administration’s closure plan will include a request to lift a ban on transferring detainees to the U.S.

Officials have not disclosed details, but the Defense Department has scouted potential prison sites in Kansas, South Carolina and elsewhere.

Myles Caggins, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the president still has “a steadfast commitment to closing the Guantanamo detention facility.”

However, this does not mean an end to open-ended detention for some of the prisoners, writes the AP. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said recently that about half the prisoners “are not safe to release, period.”

“Some of the people who are there at Guantanamo Bay have to be detained indefinitely, OK? They just got to be locked up,” Carter said. “So if they’re not locked up in Guantanamo Bay, they need to be locked up somewhere.”



Russell Brand Looks At Anti-Terror Law Proposals

Russell Brand

Not long ago, Russell Brand looked at proposals to “fast-track” new anti-terror laws by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Last May, Cameron said that Britain is too “passively tolerant” and should not leave people to live their lives as they please just because they obey the law.

According to The Independent, Cameron released a series of measures that he said would crack down on people holding minority “extremist” views that differed from Britain’s consensus in May.

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’,” he said.

“It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.”



Department Of Defense Joins FBI And Homeland Security To Warn Of Possible Terrorism July 4th

The Defense Department joined the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI on Wednesday to warn of the threat of an ISIS attack in the U.S. over the 4th of July holiday weekend.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said U.S. bases nationwide were on higher alert, and Carter said that “some of our service members will be hard at work” over the weekend to deter the threat, without specifying what would be involved.

“Those who seek to harm this nation take no holiday,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at a Pentagon press briefing with General Martin Dempsey, writes Military.com.

ABC7 News in Denver writes that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security “issued a warning to 18,000 law enforcement agencies about a heightened concern over terror attacks targeting 4th of July celebrations.”


Infamous Australian ISIS Terrorists Killed By Drone Strike

CNN claims that two infamous terrorists from Australia who have been fighting with ISIS have been killed by a drone strike.  A relative of the terrorists reported on it.

One man became infamous last year when he tweeted a picture of his 7-year-old son holding a severed head along with the sentence “That’s my boy.”

Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar died in a drone strike in ISIS-controlled territory, according to Zaynab Sharrouf, 14, a relative of the two.

The teen is Khaled Sharrouf’s daughter and Elomar’s wife, having married 31-year-old Elomar, her father’s best friend, in March.

Australian media reported that the men were in the stronghold of Mosul, Iraq.  Australian authorities are working to confirm the deaths.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told CNN affiliate Channel 7 Wednesday there was a “high degree of confidence” that Elomar had been killed, but with regard to Sharrouf, “we can’t say.”

Sharrouf made the infamous tweet with his son.

It is unclear what nation the drone was from.