February 9, 2008
Dying in America
A Homeland Security (DHS) fact sheet reports that President Bush is requesting $50.5-billion budget for DHS's 2009 fiscal year. According to this same document the mission of DHS is "to prevent terrorist attacks against the nation and to protect our nation from dangerous people". Hmmm...
Now that's a magnificent sum of money and when you question the rationale you are immediately labelled as a liberal, terrorist-loving, pinko. But please bear with me, and let's have a look at data from The National Centre for Injury Prevention and Control for causes and numbers of deaths of Americans in 2005 (the most recent year for complete data):
Heart Disease: 652,091
Transportation deaths: 47,894
Have a look at those numbers again. They are staggering. But here's the profound kick in the head that no politician is talking about: the American medical system is the leading cause of death in America today. A report entitled "Death by Medicine" reports that 783,936 people die in the United States every year as a result of conventional medicine mistakes. That's 1 in 3 of every death in America on an anual basis. Let's say that again: 1 in 3.
Okay, okay, so clearly DHS is doing its job.Right...? Er...maybe, and maybe not. My real point is that the American Government is not truly fighting the actual leading causes of death of its citizens despite all rhetoric to the contrary. Even in 2001 more Americans died of food poisoning than were killed by acts of terrorism by a ratio of 5:3. And Professor Erica Frank of Emory University estimates that 5,208 Americans died on Sept 11 alone from the top-10 leading causes of death. As she points out, "In 2002, New York State designated $1.3 million to reduce heart disease, the leading killer of New Yorkers [37% of all deaths]; contrast this with the $34 million awarded by DHS for bioterrorism preparedness".
It says a great deal about America in what it chooses and chooses not to do...