President Obama: “The Odds of Dying In a Terrorist Attack Are a Lot LOWER than They Are of Dying In a Car Accident”

Calm Down … You Are Much More Likely to Be Killed By Boring, Mundane Things than Terrorism

President Obama said last night:

He’s right.

The Jewish Daily Forward noted in May that – even including the people killed in the Boston bombing – you are more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. And see these statistics from CNN.

We noted in 2011:

– You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

– You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

— You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane

— You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack

–You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack

— You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack

– You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack

–You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack

–You are 9 times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack

–You are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist

–You are 8 times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack

– You are 6 times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack

Let’s look at some details from the most recent official statistics.

The U.S. Department of State reports that only 17 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide as a result of terrorism in 2011. That figure includes deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and all other theaters of war.

In contrast, the American agency which tracks health-related issues – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control – rounds up the most prevalent causes of death in the United States:

Comparing the CDC numbers to terrorism deaths means:

– You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

– You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

(Keep in mind when reading this entire piece that we are consistently and substantially understating the risk of other causes of death as compared to terrorism, because we are comparing deaths from various causes within the United States against deaths from terrorism worldwide.)

Wikipedia notes that obesity is a a contributing factor in 100,000–400,000 deaths in the United States per year. That makes obesity 5,882 to times 23,528 more likely to kill you than a terrorist.

The annual number of deaths in the U.S. due to avoidable medical errors is as high as 100,000. Indeed, one of the world’s leading medical journals – Lancet – reported in 2011:

A November, 2010, document from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that, when in hospital, one in seven beneficiaries of Medicare (the government-sponsored health-care programme for those aged 65 years and older) have complications from medical errors, which contribute to about 180 000 deaths of patients per year.

That’s just Medicare beneficiaries, not the entire American public. Scientific American noted in 2009:

Preventable medical mistakes and infections are responsible for about 200,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to an investigation by the Hearst media corporation.

But let’s use the lower – 100,000 – figure. That still means that you are 5,882 times more likely to die from medical error than terrorism.

The CDC says that some 80,000 deaths each year are attributable to excessive alcohol use. So you’re 4,706 times more likely to drink yourself to death than die from terrorism.

Wikipedia notes that there were 32,367 automobile accidents in 2011, which means that you are 1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack. As CNN reporter Fareed Zakaria writes this week:

“Since 9/11, foreign-inspired terrorism has claimed about two dozen lives in the United States. (Meanwhile, more than 100,000 have been killed in gun homicides and more than 400,000 in motor-vehicle accidents.) “

According to a 2011 CDC report, poisoning from prescription drugs is even more likely to kill you than a car crash. Indeed, the CDC stated in 2011 that – in the majority of states – your prescription meds are more likely to kill you than any other source of injury. So your meds are thousands of times more likely to kill you than Al Qaeda.

The number of deaths by suicide has also surpassed car crashes, and many connect the increase in suicides to the downturn in the economy. Around 35,000 Americans kill themselves each year (and more American soldiers die by suicide than combat; the number of veterans committing suicide is astronomical and under-reported). So you’re 2,059 times more likely to kill yourself than die at the hand of a terrorist.

The CDC notes that there were 7,638 deaths from HIV and 45 from syphilis, so you’re 452 times more likely to die from risky sexual behavior than terrorism.

The National Safety Council reports that more than 6,000 Americans die a year from falls … most of them involve people falling off their roof or ladder trying to clean their gutters, put up Christmas lights and the like. That means that you’re 353 times more likely to fall to your death doing something idiotic than die in a terrorist attack.

The agency in charge of workplace safety – the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration – reports that 4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011 within the U.S. homeland. In other words, you are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than terrorism.

The CDC notes that 3,177 people died of “nutritional deficiencies” in 2011, which means you are 187 times more likely to starve to death in American than be killed by terrorism.

Scientific American notes:

You might have toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the microscopic parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which the CDC estimates has infected about 22.5 percent of Americans older than 12 years old

Toxoplasmosis is a brain-parasite. The CDC reports that more than 375 Americans die annually due to toxoplasmosis. In addition, 3 Americans died in 2011 after being exposed to a brain-eating amoeba. So you’re about 22 times more likely to die from a brain-eating zombie parasite than a terrorist.

There were at least 155 Americans killed by police officers in the United States in 2011. That means that you were more than 9 times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer than by a terrorist.

And the 2011 Report on Terrorism from the National Counter Terrorism Center notes that Americans are just as likely to be “crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year” as they are to be killed by terrorists.

Let’s switch to 2008, to take advantage of another treasure trove of data.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, 33 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide in 2008 from terrorism. There were 301,579,895 Americans living on U.S. soil in 2008, so the risk of dying from terrorist attacks in 2008 was 1 in 9,138,785.

This graphic from the National Safety Council – based upon 2008 data – shows the relative risks of dying from various causes:

If the risk of being killed by a terrorist were added to the list, the dot would be so small that it would be hard to see. Specifically, the risk of being killed by terrorism in 2008 was 14 times smaller than being killed by fireworks.

Reason provides some more examples:

[The risk of being killed by terrorism] compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just published, Background Report: 9/11, Ten Years Later [PDF]. The report notes, excluding the 9/11 atrocities, that fewer than 500 people died in the U.S. from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2010.

Terrorism pushes our emotional buttons. And politicians and the media tend to blow the risk of terrorism out of proportion. But as the figures above show, terrorism is a very unlikely cause of death.

Note: Given that the U.S. is supporting the most extreme and violent types of Muslims – and that most terror attacks are arguably carried out by non-Muslims – the narrative about even this relatively minor threat has been distorted.

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  • Chad Pennington

    Sounds like its all about the context we have had ourselves placed into? The real genius about informing people of this, is that most people could have figured this out if they had just taken the time to figure this out! I like to juxtapose this: What are the odds someone in the Middle East is going to be killed by a terrorist (IE, American Soldier, ie biggest terrorists in the universe.) So, see, the context matters! It just so happens that as long as people watch television, and listen, and spend time thinking about politicians, and having their lives run by government, rather than running their own lives, fear will always rule their perespectives.

  • robertsgt40

    “The Odds of Dying In a Terrorist Attack Are a Lot LOWER than They Are of Dying In a Car Accident” Unless they are one in the same. Ask Michael Hastings.

  • Contrarianism

    I do not fear terrorists from the middle east, I fear the terrorists on the east coast – namely in Washington DC.

    The odds of being attacked, killed or injured by a bomb wielding Muslim fanatic is about .000000001 %. The odds of being attacked, killed or injured by the psychopaths in Washington DC is a virtual certainty. In fact right now, every one of us, with the exception of the powerful 1% or those on the government payroll, are under attack by the state. For example:

    The odds are almost 100% guaranteed you will be victimized and terrorized by your government in one or more of the following ways:

    1). Exploited and terrorized by IRS abuse or targeting.
    2). Obamacare ruining your health care while growing government and exploding our national debt even faster.
    3) The Constitution and rule of law being rendered obsolete leaving the you powerless and with no recourse against the state.
    4). NSA stripping away the last vestiges of your privacy and using the information they discover to string together random phrases that erroneously make you a “domestic extremist” and enemy of the state, resulting in being placed on a list by an unnamed government apractic to be be rendered, indefinitely detained, or silenced (Michael Hastings style ) or with a Hellfire missile from a drone.
    5). Endless money printing destroying the buying power of your fiat dollar, causing hyperinflation, hence lowering your standard of living, and/or precipitating an economic collapse.
    6). Bail-ins (using the Cyprus playbook) where they authorize the theft of your savings in order to “save the economy” and bailout the banks.
    7). Because of corruption, malfeasance and failed policies the economy slips into a depression, tax revenues fall precipitously causing desperate governments to scavenge for more money, then under the force of taxation taking more and more thereby leaving you penniless and threatening your sovereignty.
    8). The implementation of capital controls preventing you from protecting wealth from the parasites in government who are relentless in dreaming up new and creative ways to separate you from your hard earned money.
    9). Obama’s war against transparency, whistleblowers, investigative reporters keeping nefarious and illegal government activities secrete and in the dark, allowing tyranny to get a foothold in the US.
    10). Free market capitalism being replaced by a crony-fascist form of capitalism distorting, perverting and corrupting the marketplace, thereby destroying the country.

    This is what I fear. This is what keeps me up at night.

    • wordmonger

      Ruining my health care? Right now I can be refused because of a pre-existing condition. Obamacare forces insurance companies to accept anyone regardless. Some healthcare is definitely better than none. Given any person’s chances of getting heart disease or cancer, and the likelihood they could be laid off and lose their insurance, we do need to address that issue.

      • ashley

        “Some healthcare is definitely better than none. ”

        surely you don’t believe people werent getting healthcare prior to obamacare.

        if you were german, would you have wanted the nazis in charge of your healthcare? all of the pharmaceuticals companies called out of nazi germay. pfiizer, roche, merck, glaxosmithkline, bayer, IG Farben

        flouride in drinking water? nazi germany.

        and these companies were eugenics then, why wouldn’t they be now? fascism is when corporate powers and government merge. big banks, big pharma, big oil.

        why do you want to be gunea pigs for nazi pharmaceutical companies?

        anybody that wants govt run healthcare is ignorant of history and is doomed to repeat it.

      • gmo2ashes

        Obamacare isn’t going to improve American’s healthcare. Western medicine is already fundamentally broken and ineffective. Instead of relying on something, or someone else to make you healthy and whole, take control over your own destiny and your health by changing your lifestyle and eating habits to that which supports your body’s health.

  • apeman2502

    …and your odds of actually being a terrorist who is not an agent of the Rothschild bank/ British royals are less than being knocked unconscious by a bag of Rice Krispies thrown from a UFO visiting from the planet Leptor.

  • Will Malven

    Your quote is incorrect . . . attempting to cover-up Obama’s flub.

    You left out his editorial comment . . . “unfortunately.”

    • dylan

      He means it’s unfortunate that so many people die in car accidents…

  • gozounlimited

    Unless your talking about these terrorists…..

    The Flu Propaganda Matrix Continues To Promote Fear And A New Pandemic By Modifying H7N9 Bird Flu Strain…..

    According to our beloved public health specialists, the flu pandemic boogeyman is around the corner again and this one, like clock work, is undergoing genetic tweaking to prepare for what researchers are
    claiming is a virus with ‘pandemic potential’.

  • Halona

    And yet, America, had the urging of the like of Obama, spend billions on Homeland Security. As long as we do that the terrorists have won.

  • lakawak

    And that is why Obama shouldn’t use “We are stopping terrorism” for his reason to disregard the Constitution and act like he was elected King.

  • TronSheridan

    Captain Obvious article of the decade.

  • gmo2ashes

    Considering how jewish/bolshevik influence has created & perpetuates the war on Americans (eg the war on terror ruse), it’s ironic how in the first sentence, the author refers to the jewish Daily Forward. And in the last sentence, the author drives home the enduring jewish propaganda that Muslims are the danger. This entire article is carefully-designed disinfo that asserts the superiority and wisdom of Khazarian rule over America and the world. Talmudism = judaism = communism = satanism.

    • gmo2ashes

      The definition of disinfo is that which mixes lies with mostly truth.

    • Adam W

      “Talmudism = judaism = communism = satanism”
      That escalated quickly…..

  • It is not numbers but emotion that matters. Accidents are not important- they do not affect how we conduct our daily routines – terror does. No Chevy Impala will ever force anyone to convert, become a slave, or die. No Pontiac GTO will ever try to establish a Caliphate. We rightly fear Islamic extremism because cars are becoming safer while Islam is becoming even more dangerous than it was 1400 years ago.