Home / Foreign Affairs / America’s Delusional — Lightning Far More Likely to Kill You Than Foreign Terrorists

America’s Delusional — Lightning Far More Likely to Kill You Than Foreign Terrorists

Among the actions Trump has taken since inauguration day, nothing has stirred more controversy than the travel ban. This executive order, titled ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,’ blocked entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations, suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and indefinitely suspended the entry of Syrian refugees.

As we reported earlier, the order excluded the countries responsible for 93 percent of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil – including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt – which also happen to be countries where Trump has business ties.

From the start it appears that the travel ban – poorly written and wide open to legal challenge – was based not on actual data but ideology and emotion. Indeed, Trump’s rise to power was fueled by aggression toward ‘outgroups’ such as immigrants, minorities or certain religious types, which is a pillar of authoritarianism.

Even though there is no rational basis for Trump’s travel ban, it is red meat for his followers and serves to increase division and hatred, while throwing federal and state governments into chaos. It’s also allowing Trump to dangerously lash out at the “so-called judge” – a Republican appointed by Bush – who temporarily lifted the travel ban, whipping up anger against a fundamental check against executive overreach.

The Trump team understands how easy it is to play on fears about foreign terrorist attacks, and seem to be immersed in it themselves (Flynn, Bannon, etc.). However, like the baseless travel ban, Islamophobia is not grounded in reality.

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In fact, an American is more likely to be killed by a U.S.-born attacker such as Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people in an African-American church, or Robert Dear, who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic, then they are to be killed by a foreign-born Jihadist-inspired attacker.

Of course, none of these people, including U.S.-born Omar Mateen who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub, would have been affected by the travel ban.

The irrational fear over foreign terrorists killing Americans is even more absurd when we consider five seemingly rare types of accidents that are far more likely to kill — Parachuting accidents, being buried alive, lightning strikes, drowning while taking a bath, and choking on food.

The enormous cost of enacting a travel ban – in terms of the treasury, the plight of travelers, and the increased hatred toward ‘others’ – is clearly not remotely worth the purported safety it provides.

Despite the facts, “terrorist attack on nation” and “victim of terrorism” are among the top five of Americans’ greatest fears. How did it come to this?

Quite simply, the media-political discourse is so skewed from reality that it has managed to replace fact-based interpretations of the world for most people. Emotion drives the narrative and the profits of mainstream media such as CNN and Fox News, which both benefit from Islamophobia.

It goes back to a phenomenon called the availability heuristic, first uncovered by psychologists in 1973, which states: “[A] person evaluates the frequency of classes or the probability of events by availability, i.e., by the ease with which relevant instances come to mind. In general, availability is correlated with ecological frequency.”

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This matters because more and more, people construct their view of the world through the media they consume, which constantly pushes fear about Muslims.

“This is why Americans have also, since the early 2000s, thought that the crime rate was increasing, when in reality it was decreasing — until violence in Chicago and a handful of other cities started pushing it up.

Scholars call the product of it-bleeds-it-leads news cycles and violent entertainment Mean World Theory. Since the average kid sees 8,000 dramatized murders by the time they turn 12, they take the world to be more violent than it actually is.

It’s the same case with Muslims, terrorism, and the consequent Islamophobia. In an analysis of network and cable news shows from 2008 and 2012, communications scholars Travis Dixon and Charlotte Williams found that Muslims were greatly overrepresented as terrorists; they cite FBI stats finding that just 6 percent of terrorist acts in a separate four-year period were committed by Muslims, while 81 percent of terrorists on TV news were portrayed as Muslim.”

Interfaith strife and interethnic conflict are far more profitable than a real analysis showing that Muslims and foreign terrorists actually pose an extremely small threat to Americans. This not only benefits mainstream media but also the military-industrial complex, which always needs a bogeyman to justify outrageous levels of military spending and interventions in the Middle East.

The Trump administration appears to be doubling down on this dangerous, false narrative. Recent reports are that team Trump intends to “revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism.”

  • skyp0ckets

    Remember, toddlers are even more dangerous than lightening.

  • tz1

    So go to flat areas without trees and carry a tall metal pole during a thunderstorm!
    Gun control is also part of that – why is the reaction to a muslim terrorist shooting a bunch of people to ban guns, not muslims?
    The risk might also be less than anything the USDA, FDA, EPA, or OSHA is regulating, so please get rid of those, then we can talk about not letting in terrorists.
    Trump’s ban is TEMPORARY, and only covers countries where terrorist groups are actively trying to get here since there is no vetting and the chaos makes identifying people hard. It isn’t a “muslim ban”.

    • Joyce Clemons

      So called Free Thought project is just recycling corporate media sound bytes. Free Thought is original thought. I don’t see any of that here. Might as well get nauseated reading CNN articles.

      • Brian King

        Its not white supremacy thought project if you want that take that ass to stormfront or breitbart either one of them lol both of them the same might as well be the same site

    • Vincent D’Emidio

      You are assuming that most of the refugees are “terrorists”? Where did you get that? The Sean “I never smoked a joint in my life” Hannity Show?

      • tz1

        I am not assuming “Most”. I am assuming one poisoned candy in a bowl of a thousand.
        Currently even lesser dangers are banned, recalled, locked out by the USDA, CDC, FDA.
        One bad bag of spinach, they will recall all 100,000. Why ought refugees be different since they have no right to be here?

        • Vincent D’Emidio

          “One bad bag of spinach, they will recall all 100,000”

          That’s the way I feel about the cops…one or two bad ones POISON the rest.

        • Ricardo Maia

          Maybe if America, stop Finance this Terrorists and stop bombing inocent people in this countries, by the Argument “Fighting Terrorism”….. maybe it would stop this Middle East crysis!!!!

        • Ryan Law

          actually the treaty USA signed after ww2 do give refugees a right to seek safe harbour, its not a bi cameral system like australia you sign it it becomes law. wheres here it just influences what laws are made in future, sometimes, thats why we can legally indefinitely detain without education/schooling children and newborns born in australian detainment camps even though it directly contravenes the rights of the child, the convention on refugees extra

      • Ryan Law

        its a mater of it being bloody sick to blow up peoples homes so they have to flee their country then tell them your welcome to come clean my toilet, pickup my garbage, i may of blown up your mother but it was just business, or something, why are we blowing up brown people in middle east again? is it just a round about way of filling some garbage man jobs? what country drops as many bombs as where dropped in second world war on a country in a 48 hr period but still keeps accepting tourists from the country they just tryed to bomb back to the stone age?
        do you understand how angry someone is that has had their wife and children killed by your army in the name of stimulating your economy via arms sales.
        not only is it really sick to welcome them with open arms, soon enough one sill shove a knife in your back and say, this is for my daughter/father/mother/son/cousins you murdered
        if it wasnt for iran, the unifying factor for the countrys picked is they are all places the US extrajudicialy kills people with drones every week

        • Vincent D’Emidio

          Why are you telling this to me? I have been Pro-Palestinian from jumpstreet.

    • Brian King

      Then why does it ban Syrian Muslims and not Christians and why are ppl from Pakistan Saudi Arabia and Egypt not banned remember the patsies from 911 were from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan has the Taliban so the trump ban is not about terrorism

      • Ryan Law

        it dose ban christians… it bans all travel for 6 countrys your currently bombing/at war with and one country(iran) that stands out for its efforts to stop wahabism more then ANY other country in the world, which is weird, but not letting people come to country from countrys you are blowing people up in… that used to be standard.
        its pretty sick to bomb people till they flee for their lives then say, you are welcome to come clean my toilet it wasnt personal, i may of blown up your child but youre welcome here

        • Brian King

          No look at the executive order again it only let’s Syrian Christians in and I’m not Arab or Muslim but that exec order is obviously against Muslims

    • Vincent D’Emidio

      Yo Bubba, you are as brainwashed as they come, please don’t try to deny it.

      • tz1

        At least I don’t have a dirty mind.

        • Vincent D’Emidio

          Oh really? How clean is it? If I drop some food on your brain’s “floor”, can I still eat it? But that’s not the point, is it? The point is that you believe that my mind is “dirty”. Why is that? Is it because I tell it like it is, and you “can’t handle the truth”, as Jack Nicholson would say?
          Oh, and by the way, I am not a “Gun control” fanatic…have all the guns you want, it’s not my business. I have one too. It STAYS in the top drawer of my bureau, and it never comes out, unless…

  • MostOfYouRBrainwashed HAHA

    The US is the only country that feels entitled to be constantly meddling in other sovereign nations’ affairs, conduct regime change operations in countries all throughout the world, steal their resources, destabilize whole regions and then have the nerve to turn around and call the people affected by their actions terrorists and absolutely refuse to take any accountability for their actions.

    Like who you think is LARGELY responsible for the Syrian refugee situation? Answer: The same country that has now decided to “indefinitely suspended the entry of Syrian refugees.”
    You couldn’t write this stuff LOL

    • Vincent D’Emidio

      Well, the reason that the US was intervening in Syria’s civil war is our politicians’ fear of Binyamin “There will never be a Palestinian State” Netanya-filth. At least President Obama has the backbone to stand up to that creep. The rest of Congress was bowing and scraping in Binyamin’s presence. That’s why most Republicans and some Democrats were so SCARED to sign onto the Iran deal…fear of Binyamin.

      • MostOfYouRBrainwashed HAHA

        Interesting. Do you really think The US decided to intervene in Syria because of Israel? Just because of Israel or are there other motives as well?
        And as for that Syria civil war. You don’t think that was socially engineered by outside forces who cleverly pushed the right the buttons at the right time?

        • Vincent D’Emidio

          You are probably right when you say that the war “was socially engineered by outside forces who cleverly pushed the right buttons at the right time”. But, during the US intervention, Binyamin was probably “cumming” in his pants!

          I do not blame Israel for this situation, but I do blame the current Netanya-filth regime for most of the problems in that region. That ANIMAL does not represent the TRUE Israelis…he represents those racist, disgusting, ahem, “settlers”, if you can call them that. They are not true Israelis…they are land-grabbers.

          • Ryan Law

            interveined lmao syria was a american backed colour revolution all the “colour” revolutions where american backed although syria did have a 6 year drought that forced millions of subsistance farmers and villagers off land into citys, go lookup the leadup to the takign of mosul where mccain met with al bagdadi in northern syria or look at the wiki leaks emails from 2011 where they talk about the possibility of setting up a caliphate in syria to break up country

          • Ryan Law

            you might be ready to go lookup the zionist collaboration with the nazis. the fact that the zionist news paper was allowed circulation till almostthe end of the war, the court cases involving senior zionist where he was pardoned for hading 10000s of jews to the nazis in exchange for them sendign 100s of nominated zionists to israel.
            or how israel used anti semitism to encourage jews to migrate their also lookup mr minichin begin famous terrorist(bombed king david hotel, massacred a number of arab villages) he ended up becoming prime minister of israel, was defence minister in the 68 war was instrumental in its planing, the y gave him a peace prize in the end, he spent years as englands most wanted terrorist. or lookup einstiens leter of warning of fascism in zionist israel, where he implored the USA not to legitimise mr begin back in ’48.
            its a lot of reading but its interesting. helps inform on why stuff happens today
            i was totaly unsuprised when they gave obama a peace prize for nuke disarmament and he then spent 1 trillion dollars on new nukes and missiles. more then all other presidents in history have spent on nukes. for eg

          • Vincent D’Emidio

            I know, Einstein was against the new homeland, not because he was against the idea of Israel itself, but because he understaood the “caliber” of so-called “leaders” like Menachem “Palestine? What Palestine?” Begin and Yitshak “kill all Arabs” Shamir. Yitshak was also a terrorist, part of the Stern-Irgun gang.

  • spamster

    Why increase the odds? Do you fly kites during a thunderstorm? Do you like to play Russian Roulette? Then, why import more people who are not properly vetted and could be a Trojan (horse) terrorist? If only ten people are killed by a surreptitious terrorist immigrant, the odds are 10 in 320 million. If that potential terrorist is not admitted into the country, the odds are reduced to 0 in 320 million. Can’t do anything about lightening, but we can make America incrementally safer.

    • Vincent D’Emidio

      Terrorists come in all colors, all ethnicities and political persuasions.

      • spamster

        True, do you want a demographic breakdown?

    • Brian King

      But fuck those damn Arabians right? Even tho you bombed the fuck out of there cities day and night and gave away shitloads of guns to terrorist “rebels” smh

      • spiralout

        Arabians? You should know the definition of Arabians before you use it….

        • Brian King

          Bitch you know what I mean….

      • spamster

        “I” bombed no one, and do not wish to be bombed.

        • Brian King

          Your ppl did and your prolly a Republican who voted for bush and trump so yea you kinda did and no one wishes to be bombed but when y’all are the main country doing the bombing you kinda have it coming and I was talking about what you said about refugees but like y’all always do you missed the point

  • kcgoat

    very sad article ,misleading the people to slaughter

  • bobbi brownose

    its not about not wanting to die from terrorism.. its about not wanting subsequent generations to infinity, to have to live under sharia law and islamic totalitarianism. fuck this website. scum.

  • Peter Valencia

    You should call yourselfs “The fake thought project” you’re no better than CNN assholes! 100% of the terrorist attacks was done by muslims/islamists. This temporary ban is from those countries that harbor ISIS and it’s almost mposible to verify their identities. The rest of countries have stable governments and you can vett properly. Besides, they Isis themself brag about sneaking in Fighters among the refugees, so stop spreading fake news.

  • mitch

    51 people killed by lightning 64 by terrorist not sure how they worked their math

  • fullsack

    “Islamophobia is not grounded in reality.” If you’re going to say that, maybe don’t bring up Omar Mateen in the next paragraph. The most deadly mass shooting in US history was committed by a Muslim, so perhaps there is justification for some Islamophobia.

  • fullsack

    “Islamophobia is not grounded in reality.” If you’re going to say that, maybe don’t bring up Omar Mateen in the next paragraph. The most deadly mass shooting in US history was committed by a Muslim, who murdered based on a religious based condemnation of homosexuals, so perhaps there is some justification for Islamophobia.

  • fullsack

    “Islamophobia is not grounded in reality.” If you’re going to say that, maybe don’t bring up Omar Mateen in the next paragraph. The most deadly mass shooting in US history was committed by a Muslim, who murdered based on a religious condemnation of homosexuals, so perhaps there is some justification for Islamophobia.

  • Ryan Law

    cows kill more people in australia then terrorists and police kill 10x as many as cows, the last hostage situation we had the police shot 2 people dead injured numerous others hostage take/terrorist shot one dead(he wanted a phone call with PM and he would of released hostages or to be allowed to make a radio statement) instead they shot up building for 5 mins then pulled bodys out