Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    i'm currently taking a philosophy class, and found the article '9/11 and Starvation' by Mylan Engel Jr. to be rather thought-provoking. At least, more so than some of the other articles i've read. i tried to find a link online, but i couldn't, so i'll just type what it said here.

    Regrettable things, even tragic things, happen all the time. Which of these things do we care about? Which of these things do we notice? One fact is that people tend to care more about contracted harms than diffuse harms. A traffic wreck involving 20 cars may grab our attention, while 10 separate wrecks, each involving 2 cars, may not. Also, people tend to care more about the striking and unpredictable than about the commonplace and familiar. An outbreak of the West Nile virus makes the news, but nobody notices as 36,000 Americans die each year from the flu.
    Mylan Engel, Jr., is a professor of philosophy at Northern Illinois University.


    You probably remember many of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners, crashing two of them into the World Trade Center towers, one into the Pentagon, and one in a field in Pennsylvania. Two thousand nine hundred and eighty-seven innocent individuals died needlessly. People around the world stared at their televisions in horror and disbelief as the news media aired clips of the attack 'round the clock. The tragedy immediately roused President Bush to declare "War on terrorism." Volunteers from all across America traveled to New York at their own expense to aid in the rescue and clean-up efforts. Charitable contributions poured into the American Red Cross, which in turn wrote checks totaling $143.4 million in emergency aid (averaging $45,837 per family). The U.S. government put together a $5 billion relief package that will provide $1.6 million to each of the victim's families. The U.S. has spent billions more on its military efforts to root out Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network. As the dust from the 9/11 attacks has finally settled, it is safe to say that Americans are now taking terrorism seriously.

    Here are some of the tragic events that took place on 9/11 that you probably don't recall. On that infamous day, over 33,000 innocent children under the age of five died senseless, needless deaths - 18,000 died from malnutrition and another 15,300 died of untreated poverty-related disease. It must be stressed that almost all of these deaths were unnecessary. They could have easily been prevented. The U.S. alone grows enough grain and soybeans to feed the world's human population several times over. Given this overabundance of food, the lives of those children who starved to death on 9/11 could have easily been saved, had we only diverted a relatively modest portion of this food to them. As for the disease-related deaths, nineteen percent of the 33,000 children who lost their lives on 9/11 died from the dehydrating effects of chronic diarrhea. Almost all of these 6,350 diarrheal dehydration deaths could have been prevented by administering each child a single packet of oral rehydration salts (cost per packet: 15 cents). Another nineteen percent of these children died from acute respiratory infections, most of whom could have been saved with a course of antibiotics (cost: 25 cents). Most of the 2,300 children who deid from measles could have been saved with vitamin A therapy (cost per capsule: less than 10 cents). What makes the deaths of these children tragic is that virtually all of them were readily preventable. They only occurred because otherwise good people did nothing to prevent them.

    Despite the fact that the number of innocent children who died needlessly on 9/11 was ten times greater than the number of innocent people who lost their lives on the 9/11 terrorist attack, compassionate conservative President Bush did not declare war on hunger or poverty. The U.S. Government did not immediately institute a multi-billion-dollar relief package for the world's absolutely poor. People did not make out generous checks to famine relief organizations. The media did not so much as mention the tragedy of so many young innocent lives lost. And, as if 9/11 wasn't enough for us to deal with, on 9/12 another 33,000 innocent children under the age of five died unnecessarily, and another 33,000 on 9/13. In the twenty-two months that have transpired since the 9/11 tragedy, over 22 million innocent children under the age of five have died needlessly. By any objective measure, the tragedy of the 9/11 attack pales in comparison to the tragedy of world hunger and famine-related disease. Each year the latter claims 3,800 times more innocent lives than the 9/11 attack. Despite the magnitude of the tragedy of global hunger the overwhelming majority of affluent and moderately affluent people, including most philosophers, send no money to famine relief organizations. Of the 4 million people who receive solicitations from UNICEF each year, less than one percent donate anything at all. For most of us, world hunger doesn't even register a blip on our moral radar screens, much less present itself as a serious moral problem requiring action on our part....

    what are your thoughts? reactions?

    source: The right thing to do: basic readings in moral philosophy.
    Stuart Rachels - McGraw-Hill Higher Education - 2010
    pages 151-153
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by green chica)

    what are your thoughts? reactions?

    source: The right thing to do: basic readings in moral philosophy.
    Stuart Rachels - McGraw-Hill Higher Education - 2010
    pages 151-153
    I don't see the relevance of the two tragedies. He said that we care more about unexpected events than expected ones... Children die everyday, but not everyday you get planes flown into a building

    I do think the Americans have easily over-reacted to the attacks, and invading two countries because of it didn't exactly ease the situation; it just made it worse.

    We cannot expect America to feed the world, it would cost them too much, which is why I don't see how the death of these children could have been avoided?
    Offline

    13
    It's important for us to realise that large-scale injustice and suffering is all around us, every day. News 'friendly' tragedies, i.e. those which offer simple and spectacular (if also horrific) images and which, usually, effect rich western people, tend to be the ones we're encouraged to think about most by western and capitalist media, but there's a bigger picture.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    "One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic."
    J. Stalin

    It's human nature to be more concerned with the spectacular and what we can relate to.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    What's your favourite Christmas sweets?
    Useful resources
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.