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Stay Afraid, Suckers!

A short thought on the actual cost of fear and how aweful LAX is

Here's an excerpt from an article in this month's Psychology Today that I came across yesterday and found twistedly funny for all kinds of personal philosophical and political reasons:

"After 9/11, 1.4 million people changed their holiday travel plans to avoid flying. The vast majority of them chose to drive instead. But driving is far more dangerous than flying and the decision to switch caused roughly 1,000 additional auto fatalities, according to two seperate analyses comparing traffic patterns in late 2001 to those the year before. In other words, 1000 people who chose to drive wouldn't have died had they flown instead."

To go a step further (and into my own words): The thing that is aweful about being killed is that you lose all the rest of the time you had left on this planet. It's all about your time which is your life.

Here's a quote I got from LAX's website (it's the latest numbers I could find):"Nearly 2 million travelers are expected to pass through Los AngelesInternationalAirport (LAX) during the annual year-end holiday season that begins Friday, Dec. 21, and continues through Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008. This year's holiday-period total of air travelers is forecast to exceed last year's comparable period by 3 percent."

Now because of the dog and pony show that is the screening at LAX I lose an additional 20 minutes as compared to pre-2001. I usually get through pretty fast; so I'm going to postulate that the average traveler loses half an hour.

I'm also going to assume that the average age of everyone flying through LAX is 40 and we are all going to live to be 80, meaning that they have 40 years left. So if they were killled this holiday season they were being robbed of 40 years of their life. That is 14600 days or 350400 hours.

2 million people over the course of 10 days is 200,000 people a day, losing a half hour each because of heightened security. That's 100,000 hours a day, which means that the equivalant of one total average person is killed in equivalent time lost by the TSA every third day this holiday season, just at LAX.

If traffic is doubled at the holiday season that means that the rest of the year it's half this, which means we lose about one person a week to fear-mongering at each major US airport.

I don't know if fear itself is the only thing we have to fear, but it sure seems to be killing a lot of people. Unfortunately it doesn't get the same news coverage as explosions.

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