Which Deaths Matter?
As the pandemic unfolds, I keep finding myself thinking about the round-the-clock coverage I saw a while ago on Fox about the death of one person caused by an undocumented immigrant. I can’t even remember the details at this point, but they’d clearly cherry-picked a story to rehash over and over, sowing fear and panic about immigrants. (They probably do this all the time; I just don’t watch Fox very often.) In doing so, they presented a wildly disproportionate sense of risk, given that immigrant crime tends to be lower than that from US-born citizens.
I’ve also been struck by the use of car deaths as a justification for not worrying about coronavirus deaths. 36,000 traffic fatalities a year is an unacceptably high number to write off as “inevitable accidents,” and the very Republicans who oppose traffic safety measures are the same ones using that high casualty rate as an excuse for allowing more death! (Interestingly, the libertarian Cato Institute, of all places, has a study disputing the claim that immigrants cause more drunk-driving deaths.)
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