9/11 murders in perspective

Posted on 2011-09-12 05:54

The attacks of September 11, 2001 were horrible, nearly 3,000 people perished in the planes and on the ground. The memorials made yesterday on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy to the familys' loss and the individual's untimely passing were both heart breaking and moving. While the attacks on the trade center were horrific, it was the catastrophic failure of the buildings that killed most of the people involved. A fire in a high rise building is terrible, but the absolute and complete collapse of these immense structures was much worse than could have been expected. I don't think the criminals who planned the attacks could have imagined or hoped for such an outcome, so in some sense the complete and utter disaster that unfolded was more a result of poor engineering than their criminal behavior. The Pentagon, another building that took a direct hit for instance, took damage but is still in use today. In some sense, by attributing all of those deaths to the action of the terrorists we give them more credit than they deserve. All of the loss of life on that day can be classified as murder, however, because the deaths were the result of a criminal act intended to cause harm even if the criminals didn't plan to kill as many as they did.

So lets put that murder in a bit of perspective. The murder rate in the US according to the FBI is a horrific 16,000 deaths per year. It fluctuates, and has gone higher and lower since the 2001 attacks, but at that rate in the ten years that have passed, approximately 160,000 Americans have been killed by other Americans. Thats more than 50 times the number that died in the attacks, yet I do not see a four hour chunk of airtime dedicated to all these folks (OK, I guess if the victim is pretty and white you might hear about it on Nancy Grace). For some reason, what is essentially a gang of international thugs managed to pull off one horrific crime which killed a lot of people and destroyed a couple very important buildings (completely accidentally) and those crimes are still in the news every year, while five times as many Americans are killed by other Americans every year and we should just accept that as normal?