President Trump’s new travel ban is based on the premise that Islamic terrorists are disguising themselves as refugees and sneaking into the United States to commit acts of terror.
Of course, this completely ignores the fact that since 9/11, only about six Americans have died per year at the hands of Islamic terrorists — and that number includes Americans killed in terrorist attacks outside of the US as well.
According to the National Safety Council’s 2016 report and the most current figures from the National Center for Health Statistics’ (published in February 2016), the lifetime odds of getting killed by a refugee terrorist are 1 in 46,192,893.
The following is a list of things more likely to kill you:
10. Shark Attack — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 8 million
Despite what Jaws might have you believe, shark attacks are actually one of the rarest forms of death. But they’re still about six times more likely to kill you than refugee terrorists.
9. Regional Asteroid Impact — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 1.6 million
When’s the last time you heard about someone dying in a regional asteroid impact? I’ll wait. Yet, they’re 29 times more likely to kill you than a refugee terrorist.
8. Lightning Strike — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 174,443
The odds of dying from a lightning strike are shockingly low. But you know what’s 260 times less likely to happen? You getting killed by a refugee terrorist.
7. Earthquake — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 130,000
Only four people have died in US earthquakes over the past 20 years. But you’re still 355 times more likely to die in one than at the hands of a refugee terrorist.
6. Tornado — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 60,000
Tornadoes can cause a lot of damage, but the chances of you dying in one are pretty low (especially if you live outside of tornado alley). Of course, getting killed by a refugee terrorist is still about 770 times less likely.
5. The Police — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 8,359
This one’s sure to be controversial. You can argue that police killings aren’t a big deal, but you can’t argue the fact that you’re 5,526 times more likely to get killed by a cop than by a refugee terrorist.
4. Accidental Gunshot — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 7,945
Gun control is another hot-button issue. Many people argue that guns are necessary for personal safety, but I doubt you’ve ever heard somebody point out the fact that Americans are 5,814 times more likely to die from an accidental gunshot than from a refugee terrorist attack.
Editor’s Note: The top three are all major diseases, so I thought it would also be interesting to compare our counter-terrorism budget to the amount we spend on researching each disease.
I quickly learned, however, that it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cost of our counter-terrorism efforts. Depending on what you choose to include, estimates range anywhere from $16 billion/year to nearly $100 billion. So for the sake of this exercise, we’ll go with the low-end estimate of $16 billion. Now, back to your regularly scheduled listicle…
3. Diabetes — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 53
Diabetes is more than 870,000 times more likely to kill you than a refugee terrorist. Yet it’s $1 billion research budget is 16 times less than we spend on counter-terrorism.
2. Chronic Lung Disease — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 27
Americans are smoking less cigarettes than they used to, but lung disease is still a huge problem. More than 1.7 million times more likely to kill you than a refugee terrorist, lung disease gets about $1.7 billion in federal research funding annually — that’s nine times less than what we spend on counter-terrorism.
1. Heart Disease — Lifetime Odds: 1 in 7
The leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease claims the lives of more than 600,000 Americans per year. But despite the fact that you’re 6.6 million times more likely to die from it, heart disease only gets about $1.3 billion in research funding every year — roughly 12 times less than the counter-terrorism budget.
Is terrorism a problem? Sure. Should we be careful about who we let into the country? Of course.
But don’t let your fear be driven by a few anecdotes when the numbers make it very clear: refugee terrorists are a virtually non-existent threat to the United States.
(h/t Business Insider)