Monday, December 10, 2007

Dangerous jobs

Here are the most dangerous jobs in America, as ranked by the U.S. Department of Labor:

Rank Occupation Death rate/100,000 Total deaths
1 Fishers and fishing workers
2 Logging workers
3 Aircraft pilots
4 Structural iron and steel workers
5 Refuse and recyclable material collectors
6 Farmers and ranchers
7 Electrical power line installers/repairers
8 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
9 Miscelleneous agricultural workers
10 Construction laborers
Note what occupation does not show up on this list. Guess. Hint: It's an occupation whose members often say "I was scared so I had to do X" (where X is some infliction of pain or harm upon another human being), or "being a Y is dangerous so if I can't do X to protect myself, you hate Y's!" where Y is the name of this occupation.

So what is this mysterious X and Y? Well, X is "taser", and Y is "police officer". Yeppers, being a police officer is NOT the most dangerous job in America. In fact, police officers have an occupational death rate of 18.2 per 100,000, which is less than roofers, steel riggers, or pretty much any other construction trade, not to mention fishermen and crop dusters. And most deaths of police officers are from traffic accidents, not violence -- 2/3rds of those cops died in traffic accidents or other incidents, rather than from violence.

So yeah, being a cop isn't the safest job in America. But it's far from being the most dangerous one either. If you're going to justify tasing or shooting someone because "he had his back turned to me and started turning toward me and I couldn't see his hands and I was scared", may I suggest the purchase of some stones from a steel rigger or crop duster or fisherman? 'Cause those dudes have some cast-iron stones. Unlike, apparently, today's cops, who apparently think "to serve and protect" applies only to their own safety, not to the safety of the general public they encounter.

-- Badtux the Statistical Penguin

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