The truth hurts, and when the truth forces you to challenge your deeply-held assumptions about reality, that’s when it hurts the most. With the facts, we can take the painful step and pivot, cognizant that we will now proceed in that which is genuine. Or, we can ignore the truth, and continue to believe what is in fact grounded only in fantasy.
Here then is a painful test of the truth: which of the following poses the greatest threat to American life in 2015—ISIS, a police officer, or a pregnant twenty-something-year-old woman?
The truth will hurt.
The Guardian is making an attempt to tally the number of people killed by police in the United States during 2015. Sadly, July of this year was the deadliest month of 2015, with 118 people being killed by police. As of this writing, 682 people have been killed by deadly force by authorities since January 1. A very informative infographic can be viewed here. The Washington Post gives a lower tally of 573 people being killed by police this year. To be fair and honest, 481 (84%) of these people had a weapon and posed a credible threat to the lives of the police officers. Seventy-seven (13%) of these people either had no weapon or had a toy gun. One hundred forty-eight of these people (25%) had signs of mental illness. White people were killed (336) more often than other groups, but black people were killed at a rate far higher than any other group (4.21 per million compared to a rate of 1.7 per million for whites).
Statistically speaking, dying at the hands of a police officer is a far greater threat to the average American than are terrorists. The United States is currently fighting a proxy war against ISIS, but ISIS has killed four Americans since the summer of last year. The police have killed more than 100 times that amount. In reality, you are 50 times more likely to die at the hands of a police officer than a terrorist, and this estimate runs the risk of being inaccurately low because, as The Guardian reports, “An average of 545 people killed by local and state law enforcement officers in the US went uncounted in the country’s most authoritative crime statistics every year for almost a decade.” This reality is shocking, but not as revealing as the fact that the US government maintains no comprehensive record of the number of Americans killed by law enforcement. Subsequently, this calls into question the validity of “official” tallies by the FBI that report “justifiable homicides by law enforcement” annually. Hence, projects from outlets such as The Guardian and The Washington Post have become valued necessities from private institutions when the government has failed.
Of course, reality illuminated by data defies popular perceptions because we have all been indoctrinated to think that some threats are more real than others. Daniel Benjamin, the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the United States Department of State from 2009 to 2012 is quoted as saying in January of this year (10:22):
“The total number of deaths from terrorism in recent years has been extremely small in the West. And the threat itself has been considerably reduced. Given all the headlines people don’t have that perception—but if you look at the statistics that is the case.”
But the truth gets even more painful.
This month, former Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul wrote on his website that those activists who speak out against police brutality and racial discrimination should instead focus their attention on preventing black women from getting abortions. Why? Because, as Mr. Paul suggests, black women who decide to have abortions are more lethal than men armed with guns.
Mr. Paul uses this fact as a springboard to justify his staunch opposition to federal funding of Planned Parenthood, in that taxpayer money is thus used to fund an organization that facilitates the destruction of American life.
“The majority of [Planned Parenthood’s] abortion “services” are still provided to lower-income and minority women. Every day, nearly 2,000 African-American babies lose their lives to abortion, a rate five times higher than the Caucasian abortion rates.
I support the Black Lives Matter movement. I have long advocated for an end to the drug war, police militarization, and other threats to liberty that disproportionately victimize African-Americans. However, I wish some of the Black Lives Matter movement’s passion and energy was directed to ending abortion. Unborn black lives also matter.”
A bit of clarification is in order. First, Planned Parenthood certainly does more than perform abortions; for example, they provide sex education, breast exams, pap smears, adoption services, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Each year, they offer healthcare services to more than five million people. Second, three percent (3%) of all Planned Parenthood services are abortion services, and according to their annual report, they performed 327,653 abortions from 2013-14. Third, while Planned Parenthood does proportionately serve more minorities, non-Hispanic white women account for the largest percentage of abortions (36%) in the United States. Non-Hispanic black women account for 30%. In 2011, 1.06 million abortions were performed in the United States, and 58% of women who have abortions are in their twenties. Fourth, Planned Parenthood does not create abortion demand—people do, and this demand has a lot to do with extrinsic variables such as poverty and a lack of access to preventative healthcare and sexual education (things Planned Parenthood does provide). If we kept Mr. Paul’s logic consistent, then the federal government should deny funds (i.e. Medicare, Medicaid or any federally subsidized insurance mandated under Obamacare) to any healthcare provider who provides abortion services. Even though I do not support government-mandated or government-backed insurance, the fact remains that according to Mr. Paul’s reasoning, these providers would be globally penalized for one thing that they do at the expense of everything else that they do. Fifth, Mr. Paul is absolutely correct in that a majority of Planned Parenthood’s clients are low-income and minorities because that is exactly the demographic it is intended to serve. In fact, the data reveal that wealthier and non-minority women are actually having more abortions, they simply are served in different health outlets.
All life matters, and I say that not as politicians do to garner votes—I say that in recognition that there are many people in the contemporary world who demote certain types of life—examples include “infidels” at the expense of loyalists, regular citizens at the expense of law enforcement, and the unborn at the expense of the already born. This doesn’t mean that a cure is for us all to hold hands and sing. It does mean that there are many outlets in our modern world where precious human life is being lost. The central problem is not one of race, secular authority, religion, nationality, occupation or gender—it’s one of life. And the gut-wrenching, mind-bending truth is that while a rebel holding an ISIS flag or a police officer firing a gun at an unarmed person may whisk even the most dormant heart into a frenzy, there is a hidden threat to human life even more dangerous than both of those things combined, and it is abortion. So while I agree with Mr. Paul that “unborn black lives also matter”, I also contend that it is because we have become so comfortable in destroying life—even when helpless and before it leaves the womb—that we have found ourselves in a world where it is so easy to wipe each other out.
A truly upsetting statistic: abortion destroys more life than all of the leading causes of death; abortion is more deadly than heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, accidents, and strokes. In 2011, abortion claimed 1.06 million lives. In the same year, diseases of the heart claimed 596,577 lives; cancer killed 575,691 people, and chronic lung diseases killed 142,943 people. Abortion is not only one of the leading causes of American mortality, but it has killed nearly twice as many people as the second leading cause of death.
I asked a question at the beginning of this post. Here is the startling answer: abortion is a greater threat than terrorism and deaths by law enforcement combined.
You are 1,800 times more likely to be put to death by abortion than you are by a police officer. You are nearly 43,000 times more likely to be put to death by abortion than to be killed by a terrorist. A massive threat to American life is right here at home, executing lethal strikes each and every day and hidden in plain sight.
Yes, the truth is painful.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal