One of the sad realities of discussions surrounding mortality—to be sure you read that correctly, not morality, mortality, as in death—in the United States (and frankly, probably around the World), is the tendency on the part of those talking about such things to not even begin to address the considerations that really need talked about.
There is a tendency to consider things like suicide (which at least, makes the “top ten” on most lists discussing causes of death), police brutality, the killing of “trans” folks, the killing of African Americans and a host of other things—which, don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all suggesting we totally ignore—rather than those things which are responsible for the deaths of the majority of those who cease to be in the course of a given year.
I didn’t look too hard, but the statistics I see at this point, indicate that the top three causes of death (which I grant, are aggregate in nature), account for more than 50 percent of all deaths in the United States (or did so in 2017, and I would be very surprised if that had changed substantially today). To wit, the “Top Ten” list on Medical News Today, is as follows:
- Heart Disease (23.4%)
- Cancer (22.5%)
- Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (5.6%)
- Accidents (5.2%)
- Stroke (5.1%)
- Alzheimer’s Disease (3.6%)
- Diabetes (2.9%)
- Influenza and Pneumonia (2.1%)
- Kidney Disease (1.8%)
- Suicide (1.6%)
For your edification, the article talking about this can be found at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282929.php
One need not be a genius to figure out that the top 10 on the list account for nearly seventy five percent of all deaths (73.8 percent, to be moderately precise).
It takes little more analysis to realize that all of the top six items on the list are either medical conditions or accidental in nature (and let’s be sure to mention only 5.2 percent are accidental, making a full sixty-five percent of deaths in the U.S., simply disease or physical condition related in nature—more than that, I’m sure, if you look at those below the “Top 10”).
As we walk through the statistics, we also ought to note another thing, murder is not even listed in the top ten. In fact, murder for the whole country for 2017 is shown at https://www.statista.com/statistics/195331/number-of-murders-in-the-us-by-state/ to be 17,284 people.
Considering that suicides were listed on the former site, at 42,773, if one were to “do the math”, this means that murders would account for about .66 of a percent of all deaths in the United States in 2017.
Is this number appallingly high? Absolutely! Am I suggesting we ignore it? Not at all.
What I am saying though, is that this number is but a drop in proverbial the bucket of deaths in the U.S. over the course of the year of 2017 (just two years ago at the writing of this article).
My point? That we are ignoring a set of more major problems and sensationalizing a comparatively small number of activities and occurrences.
Those who are talking about suicide have almost three times as “many reasons” to do so, as do people talking about murder. People talking about murder in general, likely have a good deal more reason to talk, I’m relatively certain, than do folks talking about even the number of people killed in interactions with police (much less, those in which the police were incorrect in what they did).
Again, none of this is to say, “Ignore such things.” I just want to make it crystal clear what people are paying attention to, compared to what’s actually happening.
You may be thinking, “But what about ‘age adjusted’ mortality?” Put another way, you may be asking yourself whether or not you should care if more people die of heart disease by the time they’re sixty five, seventy or older, when people your age or younger are more likely to die in a car accident, or of suicide. Or if more people younger than you die of other things still.
My answer to this is, “Yes! You should be worried about that.” How can I say such a thing? Well I have a couple of pretty strong reasons. Firstly, where you’re more likely to die of different things at your present age, you’re also far less likely to die at your present age (assuming you to be twenty-something or thirty something) than when you’re older.
Secondly, I’m pretty sure if you look at the statistics, you’ll find more people are dying of things like heart disease today, than were dying of such things in years not-to-long-gone-by, and it seems to me we ought to be asking ourselves why this is the case. On top of this, you have relatives and friends who can and will die of the things that occur more frequently in the overall (read here, children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, etc).
Summing those two ideas up, the chances are, believe it or not, you’ll live to be old; the chances are, you’ll die of an “old person’s disease or condition.” You may have children, they are at risk of dying of “young people’s conditions and diseases.”
The result is, where I’m not telling you to be wary of the things that make take your life when younger—to be sure, you should—I am telling you that it’s not too early to think about those things that may well take your life as an older person (since the chances are reasonably good you’ll get to that place in life, seem like it now or not). And that you should consider the possibility that if you don’t have children now, you will in future, and they’re at risk for diseases and conditions that afflict the young.
All of this said, I find myself yet again (this happens to me periodically) in digression. Probably the most important thing I’m trying to say is, “People are worried about things that, though they are not entirely unworthy of concern, are not as worthy of concern as a good many other things.”
That’s the long and short of it. People run around, waving their hands in the air in wild gesticulation over police brutality, or the death of a single individual, perpetrated by some sick moron because the person being murdered was “gay” or “transgender.” I’m not saying that shouldn’t be a matter of some concern, just that maybe it’s not nearly as serious as some other things about which folks ought to be thinking.
Okay, here we are at the end of “time and space” yet again. As usual, may your time be good, and thanks loads for reading.