Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Enough about taxes - let's talk Death

You always hear the old saying "Nothing is certain but death and taxes".  Well, I'm all talked out on taxes, whether we should raise 'em, cut 'em, reform, revamp, reverse, flatten, or whatever.  Let's get on to something less depressing - death.

Death is all over the news.  Newtown school shootings, Boston Bombings, Fertilizer plants exploding, killer viruses, etc, etc.  Five minutes of a news program and everyone is afraid to leave the bathroom.  Very scary stuff, but what are the facts?  For that, I turn to the CDC (2010 data):

  • Number of deaths: 2,468,435
  • Death rate: 799.5 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Life expectancy: 78.7 years
  • Infant Mortality rate: 6.15 deaths per 1,000 live births

OK, well, I guess the good news is that 78.7 isn't all that bad.  But when we die, what kills us?  Terrorists, people with guns, or wild pit bulls?  Actually good old pneumonia kills more folks than any of the horrific things you hear about on TV.  In fact, more people kill themselves than are killed by other people. FACTS (again from the CDC):

Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

  • Heart disease: 597,689
  • Cancer: 574,743
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
  • Alzheimer's disease: 83,494
  • Diabetes: 69,071
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364

So why all the news coverage about murder and mayhem?  Money.  News organizations today aren't concerned with informing you about relevant information for your life.  They want to make money, and they do that by selling ADs.  To sell ADs, they need you to watch.  No corporation is going to pay money to put an advertisement on a network or show that no one watches.   How do they get you to watch?  They scare you.  What's the best way to scare you - DEATH.

By the way, the official number of homicides for 2010 - 16,259.  More than twice as many people die at their own hand as die as the result of someone else's harmful intent.  So, if after watching the news you start to get worried that someone is about to kill you - statistically speaking, you better keep an eye on the person staring back at you in the mirror.

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