Ter­ror­ized

Sackville Tribune - - OPINION -

By today, it’s prob­a­bly al­most com­pletely van­ished from the news, just another foot­note of the dan­gers of life in Amer­ica. Early on, the fears were all about a ter­ror at­tack: a driver on the side­walk in New York City in iconic Times Square, mow­ing down passersby with­out even slow­ing down.

By the time his ma­roon Honda Ac­cord hit a bol­lard and stopped, the driver had killed an 18-yearold, Alyssa Els­man of Michi­gan, and in­jured 22 more peo­ple, in­clud­ing her 13-year-old sis­ter.

News agen­cies fired out Tweets; re­porters, pho­tog­ra­phers and cam­era op­er­a­tors were mo­bi­lized. A sunny spring day in Times Square seemed like a trade­mark op­por­tu­nity to sow fear through ter­ror. But no.

In­stead, the driver was 26-year-old

Richard Ro­jas, a Navy vet­eran from the Bronx with a his­tory of drunk driv­ing, vi­o­lence and men­tal is­sues. Po­lice say it ap­peared the man was un­der the in­flu­ence of PCP.

Drug abuse? Ap­par­ently.

In­ad­e­quate treat­ment for men­tal health is­sues? Ap­par­ently that, as well. It raises plenty of ques­tions.

But, thank good­ness, not about ter­ror­ism.

At a nearby news con­fer­ence, New York Mayor Bill de Bla­sio was re­as­sur­ing the pub­lic that

“Based on in­for­ma­tion we have at this mo­ment, there is no in­di­ca­tion that this was an act of ter­ror­ism.”

That’s fine.

But the same num­ber of peo­ple were in­jured, the same num­ber killed, the same num­ber of lives af­fected, re­gard­less of whether it was ter­ror or not.

No one was talk­ing about treat­ment or pre­ven­tion, though – just, thank good­ness, not a ter­ror at­tack.

It’s just like the way we don’t talk about a whole bunch of things far more dan­ger­ous to so­ci­ety than the cur­rent threat of ter­ror­ism.

By May 19, the U.s.-based Gun Vi­o­lence Ar­chive had a scary set of num­bers posted on­line: so far this year in the United States, there have been 23,161 gun vi­o­lence in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing 5,656 deaths, 11,116 in­juries, 244 chil­dren killed or in­jured, and – wait for it – 128 mass shoot­ings.

They’re now so com­mon now that, chances are, un­less they were close to home for you, few peo­ple could name even five of those mass shoot­ings. To keep it in per­spec­tive, there had only been 139 days in 2017 at that point, so al­most a mass shoot­ing a day.

It’s time to look at the true pic­ture: are we ad­dicted to fear­ing ter­ror­ism, or are we just wil­fully blind about all the other is­sues – is­sues that take more lives?

The truth of it is, if some­one died in Canada over the May 20 week­end, they were sta­tis­ti­cally more likely to have died as a re­sult of a drunk­driv­ing ac­ci­dent than they were to have died from ter­ror­ism.

Heck, they were sta­tis­ti­cally more likely to have died from drown­ing af­ter stand­ing up to uri­nate out of a boat while not wear­ing a life­jacket.

Yet too many eyes are riv­eted to the dan­gers of ter­ror.

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