Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What's really killing us

I annoy a lot of people

One of the ways I annoy people is by dismissing issues that they feel are very important. Anytime someone starts a debate about the "next big thing" that the government is planning to "protect" us, I like to point out just how small and insignificant the "next big thing" is compared to problems that the government ignores. I like to see people get involved.... get worked up over change... it just bugs the shit out of me that they don't get worked up over the big problems.

My favorite is drunk driving. Anytime someone gets all worked up about anything that is killing americans (including terrorists), I like to point out that, in 1997, 16,189 people were killed in alchohol-related crashes... that's 38% of all the auto fatalities that year. Think about that. Four years before 9/11 we lost 16,000 people in one year (the latest year I could find numbers for). If that number has stayed the same, we've lost 80,000 since 9/11. Every year, drunk driving kills the equivalent of five World Trade Centers. All those americans being killed because the government won't mandate breathalyzers in every car. I have to install a pool fence around my pool. I have to put a helmet on my child when she rides a bike. Why don't I have to guarantee I'm not drunk when I drive a car?

Then of course, there's smoking. 440,000 americans killed each year. Drugs are illegal because they're "dangerous" but cigarettes.... hey, smoke em' if you got em'. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

I'm not trying to minumize the trauma of 9/11. I'm just saying that there are 16,000 families going through their own little 9/11 every year because of drunk driving. The only thing the government has done to prevent it is raise the drinking age and stiffer penalties. Imagine if the government said it's plan to fight terrorism was to make terrorist be 3 years older before they enter the country and impose a longer sentence after they kill someone.

Why do we continue to mourn the dead of 9/11 while accepting the millions that have been killed since by alchohol and tobacco. (By the way, don't say, "Cigarette smokers choose to smoke. How many smokers do you know that started smoking after the age of 18?)

2 Comments:

Michele said...

In either Sweden or Norway once you're caught driving drunk you lose your license for life. I think it might even be if they find a trace of alcohol but I could be wrong ... it was a long time ago when I leaned that tidbit from some exchange student.

James, who has a commercial drivers license, legal limit is half of what it is for every one else. So he doesn't drink if he's going to drive ... we take turns being the town drunk. Ok, we don't ... but it sure makes us look like we're hip happenin' peeps.

Smoking ... that's a tough one. I've quit so many times and hope that I've quit for good. I still crave those sons of bitches though. I don't know why ... when I see other people smoking I am repulsed by it. I hate coming home from a night out smelling like stale smoke. I've promised Emma that I will never smoke again ... and I don't ever plan on breaking that promise.

Did you see Ann Coulter on the Today show getting after the widows of 9/11 .... I can't stand the woman personally and really hope someone calls her to task for the crap she's pulling out of her butt to write a book. I guess it sells more copies when you're a demented psychopath. :)

11:35 PM  
Booray said...

I used to have no sympathy for smokers because they bring it on themselves. Then I did a little research and learned how most smokers start while they're still underage and how for years the tobacco companies have marketed to teenagers. get them addicted while they're still too young to concieve of lung cancer at 55...

9:38 AM  

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