Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

If a passenger plane crashes it make headline news and understandably feeds the fears of those who are scared of flying.

However, in 2016 a total of some forty million commercial passenger flights landed safely at their destinations. Only 10 flights ended in fatal accidents. These were the ones the journalists wrote about, the 0.000025 percent of the total. From a journalists point of view, safe flights are not newsworthy. He or she is hardly likely to write
“Flight BA0016 from Sydney arrived in Singapore Changi airport without any problems”
Plane Crash Deaths
The fact that 2016 was the second safest year in aviation history is not newsworthy either. This graph shows plane crash deaths per ten billion commercial passenger miles over the last seventy years. Way back in the 1930s, flying was really dangerous and passengers were often scared away by many accidents.

Flight authorities across the world realised flying had to become safer before most people would dare to try it. In 1944 they met in America to agree on a
1930s Flying
common set of rules and signed a contract with a common form for incident reports, which they agreed to share, so they could all learn from each other’s mistakes.

Since then, every accident involving a commercial passenger airplane has been investigated and reported and improved safety procedures have been adopted, worldwide. People can work together when they share the same fears. This fear instinct is so strong that it can make people collaborate across the world.

Nepal Earthquake
What about earthquakes? Back in 2015 the world watched for ten days, images of the Gorkha earthquake in Nepal, where nine thousand people died. We were bombarded with fearful images of collapsed buildings and rescue workers. During the same ten days, diarrhoea from contaminated drinking water also killed nine thousand children across the world. There were no camera teams around as these children fainted in the arms of their crying parents. No helicopters swooped in. Helicopters don’t
Dirty Water
work against this child killer. All that’s needed to stop a child from accidentally drinking her neighbour’s still-lukewarm poo is a few plastic pipes, a water pump, some soap, and a basic sewage system. Much cheaper than a helicopter. But we are more likely to frightened of earthquakes - than diarrhoea, even though thousands die from it every ten days.

Right now in February 2020 the World is scared of the coronavirus. On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) China office heard the first reports of a previously-unknown virus behind a number of
Coronavirus masks
pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in Eastern China with a population of over 11 million. Since then, the virus has infected more than 31,500 people in 28 countries . However, 1,659 people have recovered with 638 deaths. During the SARS outbreak, 349 people died in mainland China.

Without belittling the seriousness of the outbreak, consider this - "According to the World Health Organisation, more than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. Injuries from road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 29 years of age."

Should we be more frightened of our motor cars?

Car Accident

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