Five years after 9/11 and now the media is running special features asking if we are safer. The honest answer is probably not. We’re a lot more inconvenienced (no hair gel on planes), but not any safer from terrorism now than we were on that fateful day. In fact, the opposite is probably true. According to polls, 25% of Americans believe that we were safer before 9/11, and I’ll have to agree with that. Our treatment of muslim prisoners in Abu Ghraib and other prisons has incensed muslims all over the world and now things have gone from bad to worse.

Still, don’t believe the fear mongering and stress about your death at the hands of muslim extremists. Annual mortality rates for “death by terrorism” are still pretty low. According to a recent Wired blog posting, here are some annual mortality rates extrapolated from Highway Safety and National Vital Statistics reports:

Driving off the road: 254,419
Falling: 146,542
Accidental poisoning: 140,327
Dying from work (or at work): 59,730
Walking down the street: 52,000
Accidentally drowning: 38,302
Killed by the flu: 19,415
Dying from a hernia: 16,742
Accidental firing of a gun: 8,536
Electrocution: 5,171
Being shot by law enforcement: 3,949
Terrorism: 3,147
Carbon monoxide in products: 1,554

According to this list, you stand a better chance of being shot by a cop than by a terrorist. Hey, they are there to “protect and serve” after all. Just try and be the one getting protected and not the the one getting served. Amazingly, this list doesn’t include Centers for Disease Control data that lists all the people that die from heart disease and cancer. Those things are also worse than terrorism. Well, the Bush administration’s foreign policy is pretty bad for us too, but I digress.

My advice, vote for a new Democratic President in 2008, stop stressing about terrorism, and start jogging. You’ll live longer.

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