Archive | December, 2015

33. Jihadist attacks vs. Auto Accidents

13 Dec

I truely sympathize with those who have suffered from Jihadist attacks both here and abroad. I pride myself on being rational and reasonable, and these senseless killings are a very sad part of our current human experience. Not only have the attacks directly ruined lives, but relatives and  many others have been emotioally damaged.

That said and recognized — currently, the ordinary USA citizen has little
to worry about regarding jihadist extremisn. I researched the rate of USA auto accidents and each of the USA Jihadist events since 2009. For the past five years, a total of five terrorists killed a total of 30 USA citizens (Fort Hood, Boston Marathon, and San Bernadino). Our total populaton is 320 million. In  the USA, there are about 33,000 fatal auto accidents per year or 165,000 for five years. Thirty deaths caused by terrorists versus 165,000 deaths caused by autos.  So you are 5500 times more likely to be killed by an automobile than a Jihadist. I have not counted injuries, but there are plenty in both cases.  Remember that for hundreds of years, lots of USA criminals have been killing  USA citizens.

The “press” is always interested in making any possible event as dramatic
as they can. It promotes their goals. But, this has the effect of making
susecptible people very anxious. Anxious people often make poor decisions, like how they vote in elections, and in other areas. People who fear terrorism (only a minor threat for ordinary people), think nothing of getting into their far more dangerous vehicles to go shopping, etc. One more word about the press: it is sometimes imperfect, but absolutely necessary, and occasionally heroic.

My suggestion is not to worry, but do continue law enforcement efforts to keep the numbers low. Every animal species has aberrant individual members that  do strange things. Some humans are criminals, sadists, murderers, killers of abortion doctors, serial killers, etc. When you have 320 million of something, there are bound to be a few defective ones. There is nothing that can be done about a few people who go crazy and kill others. The crazy ones can have any religion,  national origin, and cause. For example, some people born Christian have been terrorists and/or murdered others.

Some people think that President Obama isn’t doing enough and appears
“timid”. My personal preference is for someone like Obama, who calmly thinks things out and tries to make the best possible decisions, considering all of the relevant factors. Given the extremely difficult problems that he is faced with, I think he does remarkably well. And, yes, he does have a plan for the defeat of ISIS, which is clear if you read his recent speeches. The plan includes: forming coalitions to fight ISIS with “boots on ground”, drone attacks, a few of our soldiers to spot targets and help in other ways, economic pressure, forming good relations with peaceful Middle-Eastern citizens, etc. Sending in USA battle troops would cause USA deaths, local resentment, creation of new terrorists, an obligation to occupy for many years, and other problems.

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32. Who Supports Trump?

9 Dec

People describe Trump supporters in various ways, but I think I see something that most others overlook.  Here is my logic.  Above all, the supporters are conservatives, and of course, Republicans.  This identity is key to understanding them and the first thing to understand.  This rigid identification can be inherited, based on community sentiment, or simply results from a powerful fear of change.  “Liberals will take away my money, make me support poor people, take away my doctors, family life, debase my marriage, etc.  And I know all this because important people on TV (Fox) say this, and my friends believe this.”

I really did not understand this type of thinking until I moved to a very conservative neighborhood and made friends there.  I had many discussions with them but when talking about politics, I always bumped into a brick wall.

So, given this powerful conservative identity factor, the rest is easy.  These Trump supporters know that things are not going well in the Middle-East, home economics,  jobs, salaries, etc.  Even Republicans admit that the very rich are getting richer and the rest of us are stuck at a losing level.  So in order to improve things, they see the  need for new ideas and strong new leaders — and leaders that cannot be bought by the billionaires.   And who best fits the profile: Trump.  He is strong, bold, self-supporting and is willing to present ideas that satisfy at a very crude visceral level.  And given the inflexible and unshakable identity factor, it is almost impossible to change their thinking.

Meanwhile, Democrats and Independents are growing more confident as Trump continues his serious political errors.