Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

I don’t read anything like as much as I used to. This is probably down to television and the computer. However, over recent weeks I have read, at least twice, a fascinating book ’Homo Deus - A Brief History of Tomorrow’ by Yuval Noah Jarari.
Homo Deus

Recent terrorist attacks in the UK and many other parts of the World caused me to start thinking of things I read in his book. These violent terrorist attacks disturb me. None of my family or friends have been victims but I suspect, like me, you are fearful. Not so much for personal safety but as to how it can possibly end. I am horrified at the loss of life and the frightful injuries suffered by young an old.

As usual with these things, I turn to the internet. Here is what I found. Over the last 10 years statistics show 1.4 deaths per year in the UK due to terrorism - which means you're more likely to be killed by dogs (18 deaths per year), hot water (100 deaths per year) or on the roads (1,700 deaths per year). In the Middle East and North Africa, since 1970, there have been 106,539 terrorist related deaths compared to 6,400 in Western Europe.

It troubles me but I find that the six thousand worries me much more than the hundred and six thousand. It could be the modern media. I know about the incidents within seconds but distant atrocities merit three or four seconds of TV time and perhaps a photograph whilst those in the UK fill our screen in gory detail for hours and days.

The other quote I found was about how terrorism works. It suggested that the terrorist organisations are like a flea, irritating and can be painful but not enough to cause serious, global damage. In other words a flea cannot wreck a china shop. However, if the flea gets in the bull's ear and irritates it enough, the bull will wreck far more than just the shop.

When terrorists got in the ear of the bull we call America, the bull reacted violently. The result was a staggering number of deaths in the Middle East and international conflict which continues to this day.

Here’s what Yuval Noah Jarari quotes about violent death. It is worth reading the figures carefully.

1. In ancient agricultural societies human violence caused about 15 per cent of all deaths

2 During the twentieth century violence caused only 5 per cent of deaths (And that includes two world wars).

3 In the early twenty-first century it is responsible for about 1 per cent of global mortality.

4 In 2012 about 56 million people died throughout the world

5 620,000 of them died due to human violence

6 Of these war killed 120,000 people

7 Crime killed another 500,000

8 In contrast, 800,000 committed suicide

9 1.5 million died of diabetes

This can only mean sugar is now more dangerous than gunpowder.


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