Todd McKinley
Todd McKinley is a retired Army Paratrooper, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge and Presidential Service Badge recipient. He’s served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as serving two Presidential Administrations as a member of the White House Communications Agency and has served as an Advance Representative for the Trump Administration. Todd was a 2018 Republican Candidate in TN-01, he’s earned a Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security from American Military University where he was subsequently invited to join The National Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma as a lifetime member. He received a Master of Science in Leadership with a Major Concentration in Global Leadership from Duquesne University, a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Cornell University and a Certificate in Leaders of Learning from Harvard University.

First Things First

First things first, let me state the obvious…death is inevitable!

Now that, that’s out of the way, I must say that there are many things we can do to lower the death rate caused by things that are for the most part preventable. So, when you see the words “preventable deaths” don’t think that I’m saying death is preventable. What I’m saying is that far too many Americans are dying from things that are a result of our diets, lifestyle (which includes a lack of exercise) and the easy lifestyle that comes with an over-reliance on technology and countless other first world problems.

Soul Searching

Having taken care of that “housekeeping” note, I feel that a great many Americans need to do some soul-searching when it comes to preventable deaths. However, gun deaths aren’t at the top of the list if we’re looking to make strides at rolling back these types of deaths. We can address many preventable deaths for the most part by addressing our diet and making a few lifestyle changes, some would be addressed by getting vaccinated for the “anti-vaxxers” out there, given we’ve eradicated many diseases that once upon a time meant certain death.

Oddly, preventable diseases are the last thing(s) people get outraged over, most of which are self-inflicted and, in many respects, easily avoidable. These diseases, in the long run, cost taxpayers to the tune of billions annually and chokes our healthcare system as well as leaving many families devastated.

By exercising a little personal responsibility, we can lower the death rate of many deaths based on the list in the section below. Now, I’m under no illusion that we’re going to end every death in these categories by simply changing our diets, exercising or making simple lifestyle changes or utilizing some personal responsibility, but we could have a drastic impact if we’re inclined. Doing so would or at least could have a near-immediate effect that would remove millions of people from the healthcare roles that are seen primarily due to these types of diseases. This reduction would free up many of our nation’s healthcare providers to focus on caring for those who have diseases and illnesses that aren’t as easily preventable and would free up others to do research which would lead to many cures.

In addition to this, it would cut the tax burden placed on all Americans and allow us to decide how to spend our money and would allow for some taxpayer dollars to go towards research as well as going to aid those who truly need it.

U.S. Deaths by the Numbers

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the top killers by the numbers for 2018 are as follows:

• Heart disease: 647,457
• Cancer: 599,108
• All injury deaths: 243,039
• Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
• Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
• Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
• Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
• Diabetes: 83,564
• All poisoning deaths: 75,354
• Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
• Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
• Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173
• All firearm deaths: 39,773 (60% Suicide Deaths, 37% Murder & 3% Other)
• Motor vehicle traffic deaths: 38,659

Preventable or Not

It’s important that we do all we can to cut preventable deaths, this includes doing all we can to prevent gun deaths by keeping them out of the hands of criminals and those with mental issues. To cut preventable gun deaths, removing them from law-abiding Americans isn’t the answer. However, making guns harder for the wrong people to get them is something we can easily do. What that might look like is something to discuss in another article but keeping them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens (as I said) isn’t the answer. Of course, simple logic tells me that taking guns away from law-abiding citizens removes a major ability for them to protect themselves, their family, their community and property. By removing guns from law-abiding Americans will only ensure that the crime and murder rates will rise. Sadly, there’s no reliable metric that tracks the many murders and crimes stopped by everyday citizens who own a firearm.

A Guns Sole Purpose?

Many unrealistic people (mostly those on the Left) will argue that a gun’s sole purpose is to kill and arguably to some degree that’s true, but their purpose isn’t to murder. If guns were never invented or if every gun disappeared tomorrow, those who are bent on murdering their fellow-man would find another way. Removing guns from our society will not stop anyone from murdering others; but being honest and realistic, I must say that removing guns might (emphasis on might) stop some murders. However, would-be mass murderers would find other ways to carry out their heinous acts. In fact, murders committed with guns are overwhelmingly done with illegal guns and removing legal guns from society isn’t going to change that. Bottom line, if all guns disappeared today, as I mentioned, the overall murder rate will assuredly rise as there’s no real metric of the number of murders and other crimes stopped by a good guy with a gun.

Simply Put

My purpose here isn’t to make lite of gun deaths, whether it’s a single incident where only an individual is killed or a mass shooting. My point is, we see countless unhealthy people in our society who are unhealthy due to the choices they’ve made. At the same time, we see many who portray themselves as victims and blame the healthcare industry for not being able to fix them. Our medical professionals are good, but they aren’t miracle workers. I’m right there with everyone who’s outraged when we see another mass shooting, but on an annual basis the number of gun deaths pales in comparison to the deaths caused by horrible diets and the lack of exercise but we don’t see any outrage over this. Bottom line, we should look to do better across the board, instead of being victims of first world problems.

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