In his State of the Union address, Trump boasted, “When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers.”
Some time next week, President Trump is likely to declare that all of the territory once controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has been liberated.
Now I know this is a complex issue and no easy victory on the cards, but let’s give the President the benefit of the doubt for a moment. How much safer will Americans really be?
Consider these statistics.
This is from the US State Department, perhaps not Donald Trump’s favourite source, but still pretty authoritative. “In 2017, a total of 8,584 terrorist attacks occurred worldwide, resulting in more than 18,700 deaths and more than 19,400 people injured. These casualty figures include more than 4,400 perpetrator deaths and 1,400 perpetrator injuries.”
But hang on, you might object, this is the number worldwide. Surely most of these are not Americans. And you would be right! So what are the numbers of US citizens who suffered from terrorist attacks around the world in 2017?
This is from the same source – the US State Department.
U.S. citizens overseas killed as a result of incidents of terrorism: 7
U.S. citizens overseas injured as a result of incidents of terrorism: 8
U.S. citizens overseas kidnapped as a result of incidents of terrorism: 3
So what about terrorist attacks inside the USA?
The answer seems to be about 9 – one of whom was killed by the far right, the other 8 by an Islamist.
Now any deaths, injuries or kidnappings are terrible, but let’s put this in some perspective.
Guess how many people were killed in shootings in the USA 2017: yes, gun deaths.
It’s nearly 40,000. Or 39,773 deaths to be precise, up by more than 1,000 from the year before.
To be fair, two-thirds of these were suicides. But that still left 15,549 people who were killed by guns in the United States in 2017.
What about deaths on the roads? Astonishingly it was also about 40,000 in 2017 – in fact about 41,000.
So what can we conclude?
Americans were nearly 1,000 times more likely to die in a domestic gun death than from terrorism – inside or outside the USA.
Americans are more than 2,500 times more likely to die on their own roads in an accident than from terrorism – inside or outside the USA.
So whatever President Trump claims about Syria and ISIS, Americans should not feel safer in their beds. If they really want to be safer, control gun ownership and focus on the safety of their cars and trucks.
But pigs might fly…