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Tuesday, April 16, 2013


MY THOUGHTS ON THE EVENTS OF YESTERDAY:

According to the US Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm:) the following causes of death were reported in the United States in 2010. (2011 figures are still preliminary)  I looked this up trying to find some perspective on yesterday’s tragic bombing in Boston.  The numbers were annual numbers.  Below I have divided by those figures by 365 to determine the number of DAILY deaths by cause.  Here are those figures:

•Heart disease: 1,637 DAILY deaths

•Cancer: 1,574 DAILY deaths

•Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 378 DAILY deaths

•Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 354 DAILY deaths

•Accidents (unintentional injuries): 331 DAILY deaths

•Alzheimer's disease: 228 DAILY deaths

•Diabetes: 189 DAILY deaths

•Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 138 DAILY deaths

•Influenza and Pneumonia: 137 DAILY deaths

•Intentional self-harm (suicide): 105 DAILY deaths

That means the top 10 causes of death in America account for an average of 5,071 deaths EACH AND EVERY DAY.  How many of these are completely preventable can be argued, but accidents (331 deaths per day) and suicides (105 per day) account for nearly 440 deaths every day that some measure of prevention might curb.

What is my point?  Every day Americans die at a rate larger than the total number of people killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing, the 9-11 attacks, AND yesterday’s Boston Marathon bombing.  What happened in Boston yesterday was tragic.  The real loss to the families of the 3 dead and the pain, suffering and possible death of many of the wounded is human suffering at its most intense.  But….and for me this is a huge BUT…as freedom loving Americans, we simply cannot yield to the temptation to turn every one of these events – spectacular though they are – into a reason to “throw in the towel” on life as we know it. 

I want the FBI, our Homeland Security Personnel, Massachusetts State and Boston Officials to work tirelessly until the culprits are rooted out and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – be they Americans or foreigners.  But I also believe we must do our part.  For me, that is an adamant refusal to live in fear or shrink my sense of American possibility.  If tragic death is our issue, let’s do more to reduce the number of preventable deaths each day.  If we just don’t like pain and suffering, life is going to be tough…because every day confronts us with painful realities of family, friends and strangers near and far.

Our Founding Fathers had far more reason to be skeptical of the independent life of a new “United States of America.”  They expressed it regularly, privately and publicly.  But NEVER did they drown themselves in self-doubt and paralyzing anxiety about the task before them.  Somehow, we seem a weaker, less hopeful lot.  And I really don’t understand.  The math doesn’t work.  The realities of the random, and frankly, infrequent nature of these senseless attacks doesn’t warrant our hand-wringing.  And, maybe most importantly, the warp and weave of American life over 230 plus years does not deposit at our doorstep such a legacy of despair.
Join me today.  Enlist.  Sign up.  Be drafted!  Let’s commit to pray for those individual families and lives that have been torn by this tragedy.   Let’s feel the power of national solidarity with the citizens of Boston and all who were in close proximity to yesterday’s event. Let’s always support resources for those who work tirelessly to protect us at the local, state and national level.  And let’s live on…free, proud, unfettered by fear!  Fly the flag.  Hum “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”   Book a trip to next year’s Boston Marathon.  Stand on the street corner and proclaim it a good day.  Help support research for heart disease, cancer, suicide prevention.  But, for God’s sake, proclaim hopefulness!  It is the Good News.  And, for the last two centuries, it has been the rallying cry of MOST red-blooded Americans!

3 comments:

Jilda said...

I shared this blog on mine last night, hope it was ok. Your words and wisdom were spot on.

Dewena Callis said...

Hello, Jilda's post was so good that I had to read this. It was just what I needed to remember now. Thank you for every word.

Mart Gray said...

Thanks, Jilda and Dewena! The encouragement means much.