1001 Ways to Die in America

19 10 2016

cemetary   I’ve been criticized for not treating the threat of a Muslim terrorist sneaking into the US posing as a refugee as real. Let me be clear—that is a real threat. The events in Chattanooga and San Bernadino last year (19 killed) and Orlando this year (49 killed) remind us that there are Muslims motivated by hate who are willing to kill Americans.

At the same time, I’d like to bring some perspective to the actual danger this poses to you, because the fear of Muslim refugees that is saturating our media has been blown all out of proportion. Yes, there is a danger you may be killed by a Muslim refugee this year. There is also a danger you might have a tree fall on your head. And guess which one is more likely? The falling tree by a long shot.

Let’s take a look at some actual statistics to determine how likely a Muslim refugee terrorist might be to cause your death. Is it really worth your anxiety, or would your worries be better invested somewhere else?

Here’s what I discovered. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning or die from a peanut allergy than to die in a Muslim terrorist attack. In fact, you’re 10 times more likely to die by falling out of your own bed. You’re about 80 times more likely to die by walking across the street. You’re nearly 100 times more likely to die by texting while driving. And you’re 700 times more likely to die by choosing to kill yourself.

That doesn’t even account for the truly great killers among us, such as poor eating habits, the consumption of tobacco, alcohol or drugs, or being the victim of a medical error (your doctor or nurse is 4000 times more likely to kill you!).

There are so many ways to die in America it’s crazy. But dying at the hand of a Muslim terrorist is about as likely as discovering you had a long-lost identical twin. Last year’s statistics show that more Americans were shot and killed by toddlers with guns than by Islamic terrorists!

And check this out—in all of 2015, do you know how many deaths in America were caused by Muslim refugees or illegal aliens? Zero. As in none. It never happened. (American citizens and permanent residents were responsible for Chattanooga, San Bernadino and Orlando.)

So if America needs to close our borders or banish somebody or something, how about we start with tobacco, alcohol, fast food and incompetent medical professionals? Then we can move on to cell phones, peanuts, beds, trees and lightning. Next we’ll get rid of toddlers. Then we can deal with those nasty, dangerous Muslim refugees.

For more insight on your deadliest enemies, check out 2016’s latest statistics at: http://www.romans322.com/daily-death-rate-statistics.php

Some of you may think I’m wrong. You’re welcome to argue your point! Go ahead and comment below.

My hope is that you live a long and fear-free life. The world needs your love.

Donald Trump Jr, Skittles & Syrian Refugees

28 09 2016

skittlescandypictureLast week Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a picture of a bowl of Skittles with this message:

“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

Like many others who protested, I am grieved by the casualness by which someone from a nation at peace can dismiss the horrible sufferings of those fleeing their own nation as victims of terrorism.

The New York Times shares some of the criticism Trump Jr. received after his tweet, including this classic from Binyamin Appelbaum: “Pause to reflect on the fact that this was sent from an iPhone, which was created by [Steve Jobs] the son of a Syrian immigrant.”

Check out the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/21/us/politics/donald-trump-jr-faces-backlash-after-comparing-syrian-refugees-to-skittles-that-can-kill.html

Not only is it cavalier to compare candy to victims of unspeakable atrocities, the “bowl of Skittles” image makes us feel like there’s a high percent chance that someone in the room eating Skittles will die. But both the vetting process and statistics argue otherwise.

John Oliver explains the incredibly difficult 18-24 month process it usually takes for a Syrian refugee to enter America. Step 1 is applying to the UNHCR which generally rejects 99% of applicants. For the lucky 1%, it’s on to Step 2, applying to the US State Department. This includes security screenings by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI, Homeland Security, and then extra screenings specifically for Syrians. There is an interview, fingerprinting and a health screening, and the Director of the FBI has to sign off on every single Syrian refugee! Step 3 is cultural orientation, while continued research goes on in the background to make sure no new information would disqualify the refugee. This is the most thorough vetting of anyone in the world trying to gain refugee status in America.

The statistics also refute the Skittles analogy. If there are 3 poison Skittles in a bowl of 300, that’s 1 in 100. But both the New York Times article and John Oliver point to statistics that say 1 in tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or even more would be more accurate.

Check out John Oliver’s video clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U-t3GetV_Q

If we deny all Syrian refugees out of fear that one will be a terrorist, what kind of uncompassionate, short-sighted protectionism is this? We could be missing out on a Jerry Seinfeld, Paula Abdul, Johnny Manziel, and as previously mentioned, Steve Jobs.

I’d like to offer a better parallel than Skittles—Italian immigrants to America. The power of the mafia peaked in Italy in the early to mid-1900s. They expanded their operations to other countries including the US, bringing crime and death in their wake. What if we had discovered 60-100 years ago that 1 in 250,000 Italian Americans had connections to the mafia? Should we have closed our doors to Italian immigrants as well? Think of all the trouble it would have saved us!

But we didn’t, and I’m so glad we didn’t! Would American history have been the same without Frank Sinatra, Lee Iacocca, Jack Nicholson, Yogi Berra, Madonna, Jay Leno, Quentin Tarantino, Vince Lombardi, Jon Bon Jovi, Robert DeNiro, Mario Cuomo, Dan Marino, Lady Gaga, Mario Puzo, Rachel Ray, Ray Romano, Selena Gomez, Tommy Lasorda, Rudy Giuliani, Hulk Hogan, Henry Mancini, Sylvester Stallone, Harry Caray, Bradley Cooper, Joe Montana, Bruce Springsteen, Wolfgang Puck, Vin Diesel, Ariana Grande, Nancy Pelosi, Kate Hudson, Mario Andretti, Alicia Keys, John Travolta, Jennifer Aniston, Phil Mickelson, Steve Carell, Leonardo DiCaprio, Demi Lovato, the Jacuzzi family, the Jonas brothers, Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, several Nobel Prize winners, plus several thousand more Americans with Italian heritage who are household names? Remove all of them from our history—unimaginable! America wouldn’t be America without them.

Syrians are not Skittles. They are hurting people, victims of the same terrorism we hate. They are also intelligent, skilled, creative human beings who might invent whatever will come after the iPhone. Let’s welcome them with open arms and see how they make our nation of immigrants a richer place.


16 09 2015

7 Mountain RenaissanceI’ve been a fan of Johnny Enlow’s books for some time, but this one more than any book I’ve read in the past few years put into words many of my feelings on what’s wrong with Western Christianity, and more importantly, what’s right, with a tremendous hope for the glorious expression of our faith that is coming.

Johnny explores what God is doing and is about to do in each of the seven “mountains” or primary spheres of society: religion, education, family, government, economy, media and celebration/arts. With an insightful understanding of history and a true prophetic vision of what’s on God’s heart for this hour, he paints a panorama of beauty, restoration and glory that the Bride (church) of Christ will become by 2050.

Johnny also instructs those on each mountain in what we can do to get there. As an educator, I was excited to read his concepts, aligning so closely with changes in education that I’ve been feeling needed to happen. His chapter on the economy talks about new models of business that integrate properly with the other spheres of life to become blessing to all of them rather than dominate or steal from them. The school where I teach for years has been operating under a completely different model of success than the world’s, but this was the first time I read about it in terms of God’s heart to make business glorious.

Another strength of this book is how Johnny unpacks some of the controversial issues of today. I’ve rarely found American Christian writers I can fully agree with on some of today’s tough issues such as abortion, homosexual marriage, women’s rights, immigration, racism, prison reform, and relating to those of non-Christian religions, but Johnny eloquently and prophetically expresses perspectives on these issues that reject the rule of fear and truly reflect God’s love, with fresh ideas for followers of Jesus on how to reengage these spheres with that love and immense hope for His goodness to breakthrough. When we tackle any of these issues motivated by fear, we can fall into dehumanization, building walls, and trying to isolate ourselves from the very people God wants to put His arms around and embrace.

We choose to align ourselves either with a fear-filled worldly cynicism or a hopeful, loving pursuit of God’s Kingdom (His better ways of doing things) coming “on earth as it is in heaven” by how we pray; what we choose to post, tweet or Instagram; what different kinds of people we’re willing to make friends with; and how we choose to invest in building a culture of love, light and life all around us. Johnny writes, “No matter what your race, culture or nationality, God is restoring the destiny of your city and your nation.” Each one of us has a part in this global renaissance.

Here’s one of the book’s many predictions: “An on-fire, loving church that has a hopeful perspective on life will be globally advancing by 2050.” This advancement is not about domination or Christians “taking over”—it’s about the pure release of God’s compassion, hope, and wisdom for practical problem-solving that makes every sphere of society a better place. For those who are tired of listening to the doom and gloom Christian talk-show hosts, let this book lift your eyes to perceive this as the greatest time in history, when the “earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

Find out more at www.johnnyandelizabeth.com.

Buy from Amazon: The Seven Mountain Renaissance: Vision and Strategy through 2050.