I’m no apologist for poisonous peanuts.

No, sir. The editorial board of Net Cotton Content is strictly against deadly nuts in any form.

The loss of life from the recent cases of salmonella is horrible. My heart goes out to the surviving families — and to the hundreds who were stricken.

But What About The Math?
Any untimely loss of life is regrettable, but let’s put this situation in proportion.

We understand the crisis. We need our peanut butter. (That sounds too glib.) We need our food sources. They’re critical to our survival. (Ask Maslow.)

But these urgent reports distract us from a much more fatal situation. As the “Harper’s Index” might write:

Number of U.S. Deaths
From Peanut-borne Salmonella
(year to date, 2009)

Number of U.S. Deaths
From Traffic Fatalities
(average per day, 2007):


According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 41,059 people were killed in highway crashes during 2007.

This represents improvement, reports The Honolulu Star Bulletin, my go-to source for traffic and weather. They write that 41,059 is “down by more than
1,600 from 2006. It was the fewest number of highway deaths in a year
since 1994, when 40,716 people were killed.”

Where Is The Moral Outrage?
Why don’t we focus our media attention on this killer?

Have we simply accepted the enormous danger of driving?

Why don’t we look at the per capita death toll of terrorism — here and abroad — in its slight contrast to the per capita death toll of traffic on our own highways?

With our fascination for nuts — including homicidal maniacs (often called, somewhat acceptingly, “suicide bombers”) — we are overlooking a much larger harvester of humans.

I know there are engineers and other experts at work on making traffic safer. But, if social pressure (with funding) were brought to bear, they’d be able to achieve a lot more, a lot sooner.