Second-thought Safety

George W. Bush and the two presumptive nominees for president all want us to be willing to give up our civil liberties so that they can make us safe from terrorists. The threat of terrorism is real, but it is hardly the most significant threat to our safety. Here are a few ways we can be killed that are far more grave and immediate than terrorist attacks:

  • Automobile collision. In 2006, 42,000 people were killed in automobile collisions in the United States. Despite this grave threat to Americans’ safety, are either of the candidates or George Bush urging passage of lower national speed limit? Apparently our freedom to drive 65 mph is more dear to us than our Consitutionally guaranteed civil liberties.
  • Drunk driving. Over 16,000 people were killed in alcohol-related automobile collisions. Which of our fearless leaders is advocating the return of prohibition?
  • Gun fire. Every day, 80 people are killed by gun shots in the United States. So why does George Bush, the great defender of American safety, not call for immediate gun control?
  • Air pollution.  70,000 Americans die annually from the effects of air pollution. George Bush, who cares SO MUCh about the safety of Americans, has been using his administration to ease pollution controls right from the start (see here).
  • Global warming. There are clear human safety risks associated with global warming, but the Bush administration has been actively covering them up.

And now there’s this story about airline safety. No one is willing to change lobbying laws that would help reduce the kind of governmental negligence highlighted in this story.

My point is this, both major candidates and George Bush have been saying that to keep us safe from terrorism, they need to gut our civil liberties. But there are so many other ways we are not safe and these brave politicians are, for the most part, hiding from those problems or — in the case of GWB — actively making us less safe.

[Updated July 9, 2008]

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