Letter of the Day (Sept. 19): Life-ending odds

  • Updated: September 18, 2013 - 6:46 PM

Jan. 16, 2013: A Glock representative explaining features of the Glock 37 Gen 4 .45 caliber pistol at the 35th annual SHOT Show, in Las Vegas.

Photo: Julie Jacobson, Associated Press

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Another day, another mass shooting.

When you have a large number of firearms combined with a large number of unhappy people with mental-health issues (the workplace), incidents such as what happened this week in Washington, D.C., seem inevitable.

However, if you talk to a bookie, you will get a whole different point of view. By the numbers:


Odds of being killed by a firearm: 1 in 314

Odds of dying by suicide: 1 in 119

Odds of being killed in a car accident: 1 in 84

Odds of dying from a stroke: 1 in 24

Odds of dying by cancer: 1 in 7

Odds of dying from heart disease: 1 in 5

If you want to fly out to Las Vegas to confirm these numbers but get sweaty palms getting on an airplane, the odds of dying in an air crash are 1 in 5,051.

If you are born to be wild and prefer to have the wind in your hair and bugs in your teeth, you can always “double down” your risk and ride your Harley. The odds of dying in a motorcycle crash are 1 in 1,020.

The world is a dangerous place, but it helps to keep a little perspective.


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