Safety in Numbers

Another crazed shooter leaves 12 dead on a U.S.Navy facility in Washington, D.C. He had his own security clearance that got him through the gates–with his assault weapon in tow. I’ve been around long enough to recall when a mass murderer really was a shocking story. Not so much now, except for those in the line of fire, or their families. Since there’s not the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell of  meaningful gun legislation reform to address our country’s having made access to military weapons by just about anyone–even, apparently,  mentally unstable persons–then comfort yourself in knowing that the odds are remote in the extreme that I or you or the person or persons around you in a crowded room will ever be killed in the next such mass shooting. I’ve always felt that, given there are 7 billion people in the world, and 320 million in the U.S., protective statistical probability is always on everyone’s side.

Certainly. That goes for all the other bad news that occurs on a daily basis. Death behind the wheel. Dying in a train mishap. Skydiving. Motorcycle accidents. Riding a bicycle. And one is seemingly exceptionally safe, statistically, when taking a flight. Of course, there are people who do die in tragic and twisted turns of fate. Sometimes we may be related to someone who is so victimized, or be a close or casual friend of the prematurely departed. Naturally, when that happens, when it hits so close to home, we are shaken and suddenly value life more intensely. For a while, at least. 

So, just go about your business, citizen. Take that flight. Take the City of New Orleans train ride. Go skydiving, or bungee jumping, or head to Spain and join in on the running of the bulls. Go base jumping. Climb Mt.Everest. Get a crotch-rocket motorbike and crank it. Take a cab ride in Manila. Take that 21 speed Trek out into city traffic and bob and weave around all those cars burning overpriced fuel. Go wind surfing or sky surfing. Open that can of meat sauce that expired a month ago. Stand in front of that yellow line we’re warned to stand behind while on a bus. Walk under a ladder. Find a family of black cats and let them have at your space. Go ahead and risk it. The odds are with all of us it’ll be alright! Yes, be confident that you will not be that tragic statistical anomaly. Go the the shopping mall. Go to the movies. Are you a student or teacher? No sweat. The next armed lunatic is not going to show up where you are. Just go about your business, be it routine or thrill-seeking, knowing that the next time there’s a shoot-em-up, or plane crash, or train wreck, or freak accident, know that statistical probability will say your parachute will open as expected and you’ll have a safe landing. Then you can go home, and turn on the news and wait to hear of someone else’s really bad luck.  

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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