Mosquito Banditos

By Bill Maher

Bill Gates recently published a chart of the World’s Deadliest Animals, and surprise, it’s not sharks; it’s mosquitoes. Sharks kill fewer than a dozen people every year but grab all the headlines. Mosquitoes kill 725,000 people per year, mostly from malaria, but also from yellow fever, dengue fever and encephalitis, but mostly go unnoticed.

Other surprises from Gates’ chart: 50,000 people die every year from poisonous snakes, 25,000 from rabid dogs, 10,000 from sleeping sickness caused by Tsetse flies, and another 10,000 deaths are caused by Schistosomiasis, which is spread by tiny parasitic snails living in rivers and lakes in tropical and subtropical regions. Talk about escargot that’s to die for. Crocodiles only kill about 1,000 people per year, lions kill about 100, wolves less than a dozen, but after mosquitoes, the world’s biggest killer is still man. Yes, we humans are still killing it.

In fact, recently released documents show that the Nazis had considered using mosquitoes as biologicalweapons. That’s right, Nazi mosquitoes, or “gnat-zi’s.” The Guardian reports that, in 1942, Heinrich Himmler conducted trials of different types of mosquitoes to find if they could be kept alive long enough to transport malaria from the lab to Allied troops. So it’s not a big surprise that humans still wipe out 475,000 fellow people annually in murders and wars.

Let’s take a moment to remember what’s really dangerous: The airplane ride won’t kill you, the cab ride home from the airport might. Benghazi was a shark attack. It was gruesome and got a lot of press, but it was a rarity, and a relatively small danger to the rest of the American public. Whereas global warming is series of ignored mosquito bites that will eventually kill us all.