Kevin Baker posts a newspaper headline which demonstrates one of the points I made in Sharks, Deer, and Risk: “A child is 100 times more likely to drown in a pool than be killed by a gun.” Kevin looked at the numbers a bit closer and came to the conclusion that the ratio is more like 175:1, but in either case, it demonstrates the point about percieved risks versus actual risks made in my post.
2 thoughts on “Guns and Pools”
Risk perception is such a human thing. The riskiest thing I do all day is get behind the wheel of my car and drive to and from work at speeds (looks both ways to see if the police are reading) around 75 miles an hour. Yet I don’t give it a second thought – I’ve only been in a couple of minor accidents my entire life.
I have an invisible gas piped into my house that is explosive in the extreme and the only thing I don’t like about it is that the darn price keeps going up because those blankety blank Californians use so much for electricity generation, not just heating inside the home. Okay, I did feel the blast one morning when a house blew up several blocks away because of it, but my house has never blown up.
We discount the familiar but worry about the new; the media loves to hype the trivial while ignoring the commonplace.
Indeed. The rule of thumb Schneier gives in his book is that when something shows up on TV, you really don’t need to worry about it. It’s when something becomes so commonplace that it’s no longer reported that you should be worried!
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