Monday, 16 December 2013

The Value of a Human Life

While this sounds like a discussion better had after a few beers, we do seem to value human lives very differently depending on the source of the threat.

In the US in 2012:
° 440,000 people died from smoking related illness ° 33,000 people died from car accidents ° 32,000 people died from firearms ° 9 people died from terrorism

Wait, is that a typo?  No.  Let's go back further.  In the last decade 2003-2012, the total number of deaths in the US related to terrorism was 40.

More people die from firearms or car accidents every 10 hours than have died from terrorism in 10 years.
More people die from smoking related illness every 50 minutes than have died from terrorism in 10 years.

Imagine how many lives could have been saved if last year's $50B national surveillance budget had instead been spent on addressing common, well-known, real causes of deaths, rather than fear of the monster under the bed.

Phil Kernick @philkernick

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