25 September 2007

The Real Wars--How Most North Americans Die

While approximately 1,000 US military service members have died every year for the past three years while away at war, the true slaughter of US citizens takes place on America's highways, in homes, hospitals, and workplaces.
  1. Heart disease: 654,092
  2. Cancer: 550,270
  3. Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 150,147
  4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 123,884
  5. Accidents (unintentional injuries): 108,694
  6. Diabetes: 72,815
  7. Alzheimer's disease: 65,829
  8. Influenza/Pneumonia: 61,472
  9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 42,762
  10. Septicemia: 33,464

Source: Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2004, tables 7

The image at the top of this post is of Randy Pausch and his children. Randy is an accomplished professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, diagnosed and under treatment for pancreatic cancer--a particularly rapid and deadly malignancy. It helps to put a face to the statistics.

The real mass casualty wars of our time are these wars taking place on home soil. The true anti-war protesters are those who work against the wanton death and destruction caused by these mass killers.

Speaking only for myself, I would choose a quick death in combat over a lingering death from heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, liver disease, Parkinson's, nephrosis, and any number of diseases that kill large numbers of us every year. My long experience in several intensive care units taught me the mercy of a rapid death.

Link to Randy Pausch courtesy of Pastorius via email.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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