Sunday 15 May 2016

52x52: Free from Fear

52 random acts of kindness that each take under 52 seconds. One action each week, over a year takes less than an hour of your life.

We are constantly surrounded by signs and recorded announcements telling us to take our bags with us, report anything suspicious and beware of possible terrorists. The statistics say, don't bother. We are more likely to die from a lightening strike than killed by terrorism, four times more likely (Globalsearch, 2016). And how much of a chance do you have, of being struck by lightening? Not just, a one in a million chance - a 1 in a 5.5 million chance (Ibid). 

But 'availability heuristic' is the problem, according to Dr Purves, where people who hear about something often enough or connect with something strongly enough, can start to believe something is more likely than it really is (The Guardian, 2015).

So help someone else to understand. Give them a few stats to free them from fear.

The chance of dying:

  • By drowning in a bath tub:  1 in 685,000
  • By slipping in a shower: 1 in 812,232
  • By terrorist attack:  1 in 9,300,000 (1 in 9.3 million)
  • By terrorist attack on a plane: 1 in 25,000,000 (1 in 25 million) (Techjuice, 2015)

I am more likely to die by drowning in a bathtub than a terrorist attack, yet bath tubs have no warnings on them. We see no news reports on the dangers of baths and advising showers as a safer but still dangerous alternative. There are no newspaper headlines like Beware of Baths or Faucet Fear or Tap Terror. No warnings on bubble bath, to Use with Care or to Bathe Responsibly.

The warnings we should take note of are the less headline grabbing ways we are likely to die, like in a road traffic accident or because of heart disease or by suicide. 'Nearly a third more people die at their own hands than at other people’s' (Radford, 2013 cited in Lynch, 2015). 

As The Washington Post (2015) maintains: 'You're more likely to be fatally crushed by furniture than killed by a terrorist. Polly Toynbee talks about some of the more deadly risks to people's lives in the UK like roads - killing 35 people a week, or alcohol - killing a 100 people a day (Guardian, 2015). As Toynbee tells us, 'concentrate on real risk', because it is something we can actually do something about (Ibid).

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