Jewish World Review June 5, 2003/ 5 Sivan, 5763

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Misplaced anxieties


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | USA Today has three obsessions: Death by SUV, death by airplane crash, and death by hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Judging by amount of coverage, USA Today puts jets, Ford Explorers and estrogen as the three primary causes of death in the U.S. SARS and mad cow disease have moved up the ranks a bit. SARS, combined artfully with airplanes, has USA Today readers believing that flying west over the Pacific finds death's icy finger waiting for you at the International Date Line. USA Today suffers from what Dr. Lewis Goldfrank, head of New York's Bellevue Hospital ER, calls "misplaced anxieties."

Fretting over infinitesimal risk has consumed a newspaper and a nation. In the past 25 years, 3,222 people were killed on U.S. soil as a result of terrorism. The chances of dying as a result of bioterrorism: 1 in 56.4 million. The chances of mad cow disease taking a bovine or human in the U.S.? Contrary to Oprah's fears, it's never happened.

Poor diet and lack of exercise contributed to 300,000 deaths in the U.S. last year. The Centers for Disease Control has $96 million allocated in 2003 for obesity programs. The homeland security program budget for 2003 is $3.5 billion.

Your chances of dying in a bicycle accident are 1 in 376,165, with better odds for those of us who understand that roads are for cars, not strident Birkenstockers dedicated to saving the environment whilst killing drivers who must swerve into curbs and semis to avoid hitting earth children on Schwinns. Are they vehicles? Are they pedestrians? Are they nuts? They ride circus toys amongst 2-ton vehicles (4-ton for SUVs, according to USA Today) yet demand immunity from grave injury.

Liberals want more than immunity from harm in death-defying activities. They seek to banish risks along ideological lines. Bicyclists are a hazard, period. Still, they are coddled, in the name of global warming, with an infrastructure of bike paths so rarely used that the lines look freshly painted after 20 years, save for the tire squeal marks from careening cars.

Air travel involves corporations and fossil fuel, so social reformists demand 100% accident-free performance. That goal is unattainable. Risk is inherent in traveling 600 mph 33,000 feet above the earth in changing weather conditions. Still, USA Today scrounges around looking for corporate misdeeds in every crash. More people die in auto accidents each year than have died in plane crashes in the history of aviation.

At best, safety data on SUV risk are muddled. Most of the Ford Explorer rollover deaths involved drivers not wearing seat belts. But, the goal of eliminating SUVs is squelched if driver responsibility rears its ugly head.

Liberals do not reduce risk via personal responsibility. The annual risk from dying of heart disease is 1 in 397. Dying from an alcohol-related incident (including liver disease) is 1 in 6,210. Last year, 14,000 died from AIDS (only 150 perinatal and 173 total pediatricAIDS cases were diagnosed in 2001). How do liberals respond to these ailments fixable by personal restraint? By suing McDonald's for selling greasy, fattening food and demanding a cure for AIDS as the reckless refuse to heed prevention programs' admonitions.

Life and safety have tradeoffs, which bring me to hormones. HRT has saved marriages from manslaughter's ugliness. I've witnessed grown men on bended knee begging pharmacists on Saturday evenings for just enough pills to get their wives through the weekend. I often see Walgreen's pharmacists standing outside their drive-throughs prepared to toss HRT into cars driven by women on the edge, often with clipped bicyclists hanging to their side-view mirrors. With HRT, menopause's worst is vanquished. Hot flashes cool, depression flees, water dissipates and life feels normal. Studies once showed that HRT prevented heart disease and osteoporosis. New studies, reported by USA Today, conclude that HRT presents an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke and dementia. Some of us had dementia before HRT - that's why we took it! The government, wringing its bureaucratic hands mightily over an additional death per 10,000, halted its 20-year study of women on Prempro. Evil civil servants, taking Prempro!

A cadre of us doesn't care. We have looked menopause in the eyebrowless eyes and concluded we'd rather not live a life that involves waking up each day as Sybil. Sans hormones, our families are unclear who will emerge. Some mornings Mommie Dearest appears. Other days bring Melanie Wilkes. Other times find us wielding chain saws, poised to remodel the kitchen. But, with HRT, well, tomorrow is just another day. Perhaps shorter lives, perhaps longer, but for some of us, a life without HRT is an unexamined life. We did not require a government study to understand that ingesting the processed urine of pregnant mares (one source of HRT) might have some side effects.

So, USA Today, do your worst. We like our SUVs, enjoy jet travel and take the real killers, heart disease and obesity, under our control. Lighten up, mighty McPaper, or women with chain saws will invade your editorial offices. They will drive their SUVs there. As you try to quell the rebellion, think HRT. It has its risks, but it does soothe the savage beast. Just assume your pro-abortion posture: Hell hath no fury like a woman deprived of choice.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

Up

05/30/03: Commencement
05/23/03: PC (Pathologically Correct) Libs
05/15/03: FORGET VIRTUE: JUST GROW UP!
05/08/03: The Divine, man, war, and leaders
04/28/03: Dixie Chickens
04/22/03: "Squaw"king over a peak
04/16/03: Pulling the old Johnnie Cochran
04/07/03: The other casualties of war
02/27/03: War and principle
02/20/03: Diabolical women
02/14/03: Deadhead poets and society
02/07/03: Misguided compassionate conservative
01/31/03: The Wisk "fix it!" mentality
01/24/03: There are only two types of people in the U.S.: Trial lawyers and their clients and those who have had to pay trial lawyers and their clients
01/16/03: "My ex is a minority, so I deserve special treatment"
01/07/03: Why libs will never have a Rush Limbaugh
01/02/03: The year that was
12/26/02: Capital offenses, power and Harry Potter
12/20/02: Mundane superlatives cause trouble
12/09/02: Let the sacking begin
12/05/02: Amazing Grace that saved me from my CO2 emissions
11/27/02: Free speech, Harvard, and First Amendment looneys
11/25/02: Eminem culture
11/14/02: Hollywood trash
11/04/02: Patron Kennedy Saints
10/28/02: What the snipers and Moose taught
10/22/02: Nobel Prizes and other ventriloquist acts
10/17/02: The window on the liberal mind and war
10/14/02: Leaders don't change; followers do
10/07/02: Do it yourself
09/27/02: Hosers rise again
09/20/02: Girly gridiron
09/13/02: Erudite buffoons
09/11/02: One year later, crass demands, greed, and litigation are back --- but rights are diminished
09/06/02: Public schools: An unqualified success
08/30/02: The Shakespearean tragedy of affirmative action
08/23/02: Hollywood Joe's admission
08/15/02: Cheapskates
08/08/02: Ode to a coal miner
08/02/02: Sarah Brady's gun gift
07/26/02: Don't do it, Tiger
07/18/02: Reality Muppets
07/09/02: We're all going to die, live with it
07/02/02: From the eye of the storm
06/27/02: Nick not right
06/20/02: Behind the music
06/14/02: The sum of all fears in vouchers
06/06/02: Where was Agent Rowley when the FBI needed her?
05/30/02: Of big hair and sanity
05/24/02: Should I embrace liberalism?
05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
05/09/02: A mother who cares enough
05/02/02: Go ahead, pass judgment
04/29/02: The irritation of the modern wedding
04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
03/22/02: Blame Oprah, Rosie, Sally, Ted, David
03/14/02: The costs of women's feeble choices
03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
02/14/02: Ease up on the brothers and sisters
02/11/02: Because I was courted
02/05/02: Fat fault
01/24/02: Tolerance does not mean stupidity
01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
01/03/02: The year that was
12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
12/20/01: Free Speech and the political spectrum
12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
08/02/01: FRAN, MARY JO, MONICA & CHANDRA
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
12/29/00: The year that was
12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
10/06/00: The government as the pharmacy: Don't
09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings