Monday, February 13, 2012

"Fraidy-Cat" Nation

It seems more and more like we are becoming a nation of fraidy-cats.  We, as a nation, are so afraid of dying that we spend vast fortunes on things like First Responders being at our sides within 5-minutes.  We have an untold number of ambulance and helicopter corps standing by, ready on a moment's notice, to get to us and whisk us away to a team of physicians anxiously waiting in sterling clean, state-of-the-art medical facilities to save our precious lives.  We have armies of Search and Rescue personnel devoted to saving us from our own stupidity when we do things like, break our necks rock climbing, or "Look everybody.  No hands." or when we get drunk and lost in the woods.

But the thing is, what are the chances of anything actually happening to us?  Are we really getting our money's worth for all of the cops, firemen, para-medics, doctors, servicemen and all of their stuff "standing by" to rescue our sorry asses?  Let's put things in perspective.

From insurance actuary tables.  What are the odds?

The chance that Earth will experience a catastrophic collision with an asteroid within the next 100 years:  1 in 5,000.  1 in 5,000!!  Crimini!  Was Chicken Little right?  Is the sky really falling?

To put things in perspective.  The odds of dying from a dog bite?  1 in 700,000.  The odds of dying from a shark attack:  1 in 300,000,000!  The odds of being killed by lightening:  2,320,000 to 1.

On the other hand, the chances of getting aboard an airplane with a drunk pilot are 117 to 1.  (Now you know why I get drunk BEFORE I get on one of those things.)

But asteroids, shark attacks, that kind of stuff always happens to someone else, someplace else.  What I'm concerned about is what happens right here, to me.  Crime is rampant and getting worse.  What are the odds that I will be murdered?

Odds of being murdered:  18,000 to 1.  18,000 to 1???  You mean, there's a 3-times greater chance that a giant rock will fall out of the sky and land on my head than the chance of me being murdered in our crime-infested country?  Folks, that just don't seem right.

But on the other hand, the odds of getting away with murder:  2 to 1.  Whoa!  It turns out that all of the money we spend on law enforcement can only accomplish a 50% conviction rate for murder?  I'm afraid to look up the rate for spitting on the sidewalk.

Alright guys, here's the bottom line.  What should we really be worried about?

Chance of having a stroke:  1 in 6.
Chance of dying from heart disease:  1 in 3.
Chance of a man developing cancer:  1 in 2.
Chance of a woman developing cancer:  1 in 3.

Will someone please tell me again exactly what it is we should be spending our money on?

But here's some good news.  The chances of becoming President:  10,000,000 to 1.


  1. The odds of drawing to an inside straight are about 7 to 1, generally considered a bad bet. Yes, we spend lots of money on fear and "what if", but not enough on the things we KNOW are bad. Law enforcement can't do anything about anything until AFTER it happens. I'm impressed that they get 50% conviction for murder.

  2. I have nothing against First Responders whisking somebody to a high-tech hospital in a medical emergency.

    The thing that pisses me off the most -- you touched on it a little bit in your post -- is people who go hiking, boating or whatever, during a storm and then have to be "rescued." I live in a mountainous region and this is a common occurrence. We can't very well not rescue them, but they should be charged the full cost of the personnel, helicopters, etc.

    The most blatant cases was 3 hikers who used their cell phones to call for a rescue because their bottled water had a funny taste. (Seriously!)

  3. You realise that the minute you or a country cancel the insurance policy all hell is going to break loose?

  4. show you the kinds of people I hang out with..they'd make bets on everyone of those..and I'd give them odds..ha

    oh by the way..steal all you want..that's where I got them.

  5. What the hell kind of Amurican are you? I didn't see even one mention of odds against being beheaded with a case cutter carrying jihadist while boating in an earthquake prone dormant volcano mountain lake...anywhere in this odd post.

  6. You named the top things Americans die of, so the odds are necessarily high.

  7. Oh, great. Now I'll have to wear a hardhat and keep looking out for falling sky for the next 100 years.

  8. Jono... I guess 50% is better than no %. The glass is half full and all that.

    Tom... I know what you mean, but I still think we're over the top with emergency services. All of that nonsense we were fed about if we save one person it was worth it.

    Friko... Then I have nothing to fear for as we have seen, the insurance companies are too big to fail.

    Granny... thanks for the theft permission.

    JJ... the odds were there, something like 132 to 1 I believe, but there you can't publish everything you know.

    Punch... not me. I'm just the piano player.

    Squirrel... funny you said that. I almost put that exact same thing about hard hats in the post.

  9. It doesn't much matter WHAT the odds are when anything crappy happens to YOU or someone you care about. Like Vegas, do ya?

  10. I actually read someplace that some rocket scientist has calculated the chances of alien invasion at like 350 million to one. With that in mind an simple asteroid strike sound like a near certainty.


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