Why are you standing here on this street corner?

Wildly waving your hands and shouting?

I’m keeping away the elephants”

But there aren’t any elephants here.

You bet: that’s because I’m here.”

Traditional Tale

In the wake of Trump’s recent executive order to shut down travelers from 7 predominately Muslim countries, one is reminded of the old adage conveyed above.

First, the actual number of terrorist deaths caused by immigrants in past years from these 7 banned countries is ZERO! Although we obviously can’t lower that number to below zero, even if there were a minuscule chance that we could be subjected to acts of terror from incoming travelers from one of these countries, how would that compare with a variety of threats already facing our population? Excluding the multiple deaths in NYC on 9/11/2001, all terrorism incidents inside the United States between 2001 and 2014 averaged 14 per year, mostly from home-grown gunmen.

Our population’s chance of dying as a result of firearm violence amounts to approximately 33,000 yearly, which is over 2,000 times greater than each individual’s chance of dying as a result of domestic terrorism. The chance of dying from an automobile accident is similar to this figure, approximately 33,000 yearly (1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled), and this renders such travel statistically riskier per unit mile than commercial air travel, which carries a mortality rate that is approximately 60 times lower than that resulting from motor vehicles.

So the risk presented by travelers from the seven countries referred to above is even less than the minimal risk presented to an occupant in the commercial flight going to or from any of these countries!

Compare this with the number of American deaths caused by travelers from Saudi Arabia, which exceeded 3,000 in a single year – 2001. Yet immigration from Saudi Arabia is not restricted by the Trump ban. Could this major discrepancy be explained by the fact that Saudi Arabia is a country in which Trump has extensive business investments? Or does the ban result from Trump’s ignorance of basic math itself? Or could it be simply explained by the fact that Trump is in bed with the NRA?

Take your choice!