An excerpt from Breitbart:
[L]ooking at the FBI numbers from 2005 to 2011, the number of murders by hammers and clubs consistently exceeds the number of murders committed with a rifle.
Think about it: In 2005, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 445, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 605. In 2006, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 438, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 618.
And so the list goes, with the actual numbers changing somewhat from year to year, yet the fact that more people are killed with blunt objects each year remains constant.To quote Schneier on rare risks (written, ironically, in the context of the aftermath of the Virginia Tech homocides):
For example, in 2011, there was 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs.
Novelty plus dread equals overreaction.
We can see the effects of this all the time. We fear being murdered, kidnapped, raped and assaulted by strangers, when it's far more likely that the perpetrator of such offenses is a relative or a friend. We worry about airplane crashes and rampaging shooters instead of automobile crashes and domestic violence -- both far more common.
In the United States, dogs, snakes, bees and pigs each kill more people per year than sharks. In fact, dogs kill more humans than any animal except for other humans. Sharks are more dangerous than dogs, yes, but we're far more likely to encounter dogs than sharks.
Our greatest recent overreaction to a rare event was our response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I remember then-Attorney General John Ashcroft giving a speech in Minnesota -- where I live -- in 2003, and claiming that the fact there were no new terrorist attacks since 9/11 was proof that his policies were working. I thought: "There were no terrorist attacks in the two years preceding 9/11, and you didn't have any policies. What does that prove?"
What it proves is that terrorist attacks are very rare, and maybe our reaction wasn't worth the enormous expense, loss of liberty, attacks on our Constitution and damage to our credibility on the world stage.We need to have the courage to not overreact.