while performing the last of my yearly employee training for the insurance mavens who counsel my employers, i.e., sexual harassment, defensive driving, fire extinguishers and safety routes out of the building, ... , i came across an interesting training video. it was on "falls" in the work place.
according to the people who make the little training films, and according to o.s.h.a., about 1,300 american workers are killed each year in work place falls. these figures are quite comparable to the annual deaths suffered by our troops in the iraq and afghan theatres.
i was making a similar point to a friend, and made the rather bald faced assertion that i felt that my home state of washington probably experienced more work place and occupational deaths on an annual basis amongst its citizens, than washingtonians killed in the entirety of the current iraqi campaign. she confidently replied, based on her incredulity that this could be so, and, based on prior experience with me in fields other than the geo political where i am far less adroit that i was a bald faced idiot, and we bet on it. $5, something like that.
well, i looked it up. in the last year that the washington state department of labor and industries had compiled full statistics, some 87 washington citizens died on the work place by accident, the fishing and logging industry here collecting most of these good souls. by comparison, in the history of the iraqi and afghani campaigns, about 80 of washington's fine young people, men and women, have been killed in combat.
of those young people, 6 were from seattle, and exactly none were from tacoma, washington's second most populous city.
those casualties of war were for the entire state over approximately a four year period. washington, thanks to former u.s. senators henry m. jackson and warren magnuson, has one of the largest military establishments of any state in the union, and a very large component of our economy is based upon u.s. military spending, both at such military enclaves as fort lewis, the yakima firing center, geiger field, and, of course, our friends at the boeing company.
it goes without saying that our state's war dead over that period do not hold a candle to those killed over that same period by car accident, and other forms of accidental death, not to mention purposeful homicide.
this is, of course, of very little intellectual solace to those who have been killed, or injured, or otherwise affected by those war deaths, and brings no succor at all to their survivors, spouses, children, family and friends. to be among the few killed in a small engagement is to suffer the fate of the many who have died in larger wars.
but, it does go to point out the very small price in lives our society has paid for the very large returns received in the preservations of our liberties, the advancement of those liberties to other persons around the world (which continues to be a hope of mine, even though i am not as sanguine about it as i was when the first purple fingered ladies emerged from the polling booths in iraq), and the preservation of our interests and standing in the world.
we are a nation of 330 or 340 some odd million people.
if we cannot bear these losses, and honor these losses, to protect our honor, our integrity, or security in this world, we do not deserve to be a great nation of 330 or 340 some odd million people.
simple as that.