If there is one overlooked aspect of the current federal-government surveillance scandal, it’s modernist America’s attitude toward death. What do I mean? Well, if I said that the number of children who die in school shootings every year was statistically insignificant in a nation of 311 million people or that there is an acceptable level of death through terrorism, many would accuse me of being a cold, soulless bean counter. But don’t we in essence live this attitude all the time? Every year approximately 175,000 children die through drowning, but we haven’t yet outlawed swimming pools or called for exhaustive government surveillance of them; and about 42,000 people die yearly in traffic accidents — 115 a day and 1 person every 13 minutes— but we haven’t yet mandated a five-mile-per-hour speed limit. Death is often accepted as the cost of doing business, and in this case the business is living.
That is, we accept death within certain contexts. But the context here isn’t “avoidable” deaths — it’s deaths that manage to avoid the news.
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