Friday, April 25, 2008
Two for one posts today, kids. You are welcome.
There are subjects that I don't know why I find fascinating. Shark attacks is one of them. Don't know why, but it probably started when we had free HBO for a weekend as a youngster and I snuck downstairs late at night to watch Jaws by myself. I was probably 9 or 10. Not a good idea. Then I have been watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel for a decade or so. Can't turn away from it. I am strangely a little afraid of the ocean, it must go back to watching Jaws with the lights off hiding under a blanket when I was 9.
Unfortunately, we had a fatal shark attack today. A 66 year old triathlete was bitten severely by what appears to be a great white. As with most shark attacks, the gentleman was probably mistaken for prey -- he was wearing a dark wetsuit and sharks don't see well -- was bitten across the legs, then left for dead. Sharks hardly ever eat men. We don't taste that good.
Just so we have a little perspective, there about two fatal shark attacks a year. Ostriches and deer kill more people than sharks do. About 50 people a year are killed by lightning. About 30 a year by hot tap water.
There is a fascinating web page that has an exhaustive list of odds of dying by ... fill in the blank. It can be seen here.
Here's some figures to think about.
Death by dog attack - 30 per year.
Death by bees, hornets or wasps - 65 per year.
Death by accidental firearms discharge - 730 per year.
Death by falling down stairs - 1,600 per year.
Death by car accident - 14,500 per year.
So, it's still pretty safe to go swimming in the ocean. But I wouldn't swim near San Diego for a while. At least until Police Chief Brody, Matt Hooper and Quint have taken the Orca out to find the shark responsible for todays death. Then shove an oxygen tank into the beasts mouth and shoot the tank with a .22 caliber rifle.
Until then, I'm not going in there.