Should the Feds put cameras in every house to make sure toddlers aren't going to kill their playmates? Such absurd questions are raised by a study that says toddlers killed more Americans than terrorists in 2013.
In the first part of this year, 11 people were killed by children aged three to six years old — more than the four people killed at the Boston Marathon bombing. Here's the list via Stacie Borrello, and let it be said that each one of these cases is an unfathomably horrific tragedy.
Jan. 10: 6-year-old playmate shoots and kills 4-year-old Trinity Ross, Kansas City, Kan.
Feb. 11: 4-year-old Joshua Johnson shoots and kills himself, Memphis, Tenn.
Feb. 24: 4-year-old Jaiden Pratt dies after shooting himself in the stomach while his father sleeps, Houston.
March 30: 4-year-old Rahquel Carr shot and killed either by 6-year-old brother or another young playmate, Miami.
April 6: Josephine Fanning, 48, shot and killed by 4-year-old boy at a barbecue, Wilson County, Tenn.
April 8: 4-year-old shoots and kills 6-year-old friend Brandon Holt, Toms River, N.J.
April 9: 3-year-old is killed after he finds a pink gun that he thinks is a toy, Greenville, S.C.
April 30: 2-year-old Caroline Sparks killed by her 5-year-old brother with his Cricket “My First Rifle” marketed to kids, Cumberland County, Ky.
May 1: 3-year-old Darrien Nez shoots himself in the face and dies after finding his grandmother’s gun, Yuma, Ariz.
May 7: 3-year-old Jadarrius Speights fatally shoots himself with his uncle’s gun, Tampa, Fla.
June 7: 4-year-old fatally shoots his father, Green Beret Justin Thomas, Prescott Valley, Ariz.
Of course, this list does not dispel the notion that there is a threat of terrorism: whether it be from jihadists, envirocrazies, or right-wingers. Terrorists are actively trying to kill Americans and there should be law enforcement measures in place and military retaliation against foreign state sponsors of terrorism. And what our black ops folks do to terrorists abroad should be like a bachelors' road trip: what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
But the paranoia about this omnipresent threat of “terrorism” — a tactic that has been around since the Zealots of the First Century — is resembling a modern form of superstition. Some people are jettisoning perspective (and their rights) because of their psychological fear of being in a terrorist attack... which is infinitesimal.
The polling out about a majority supporting Project PRISM, an NSA-led program that not only tracks phone call “meta-data,” but is gathering email, live chat, images, videos, and social media communications, is a bit baffling. That is, until one realizes that Democrats tend not to care what the Obama administration does... no matter what, while hawkish conservatives are checking their backyards for jihadists behind every bush. That leaves libertarians and a fraction of conservatives — no doubt a minority of the public.
Yet it is surprising given a mid-April poll from Fox News that showed for the first time in a long time that fewer Americans were willing to give up “freedom” in order to reduce the threat of terrorism. (And perhaps many people do not consider surveillance as infringing on freedom, since: the domestic spying is invisible and they don't notice it; people don't generally expect privacy on the Internet; and/or they don't know the scope of the surveillance because what is being most widely reported and emphasized is the cell-phone meta-data collection).
Interestingly, the Fox News poll broke down the responses by political affiliation:
- Fifty-one percent of Democrats responded they would give up personal freedom to reduce the threat of terror, compared to 36 percent opposed.
- Forty-seven percent of Republicans opposed giving up freedoms, compared to only 43 percent in favor.
- Just 29 percent of Independents were willing to give up freedom, while 58 percent stood opposed.
More polling that doesn't match up — two-thirds of Americans think terrorists will always find a way to carry out major attacks and a majority of 48-41 think the government will go too far in its “anti-terrorism” efforts. Disturbingly, many Americans are basing their opinions on what party is in power, showing to what lengths partisan affiliation is warping many people's thinking.
What will it take to shake Americans out of their polarized way of viewing the world? Maybe if they really thought about the kind of country they will be leaving to their children, instead of just how they feel about things right now, it would be a good start.