a few days ago there was a very interesting program on a German TV station (yes, i watch sometimes and it also really helps my German) about Australia and the large number of creatures there poisonous or dangerous to man... the red-back spider, the snakes (i think 6 of the 7 most poisonous are in Australia), crocodiles, jellyfish, coral, sharks, etc...
at the end of the program it talked about how many people are really affected by these dangers creatures... and that the only one that presents much of a real danger in comparision to other dangers in life was the red-back spider b/c they like to live in neighboorhoods and thrive in the vicinity of people and buildings... so they quite a few cases addressed by emergency personnel.
the last word was: but don't worry too much about Australia's wild things b/c as a tourist to Australia, by far your #1 danger is being the victim of an automobile rather than being the victim of all of the "dangerous creatures of Australia" combined.
why is it that we are "horrified" by plane crashes, train derailments, shark attacks and terrorist attacks, but the most common cause of non-health-related death and injury (not to mention cost) we just ignore?
parents in the US go wild about safety for their children, moving to the right neighboorhood, doing background security checks on babysitters, never leaving their children unsupervised for fear of kidnapping, etc. and then when it comes to the actual greatest danger to their children - automobiles - the only thought is to buy a car with airbags that has good crash-test ratings... i think most parents never look at the pedestrian-safety ratings for their neighboorhood and most do little other than maybe petition for a new stoplight or put up signs "watch for kids" to really do anything to improve the safety.
although deaths to occupants of motor vehicles have decreased in the US since the peak some time in the late 60s, primarily due to increased auto safety devices like seat belts, crumple zones, airbags, anti-lock brakes, and other safety engineering improvements from crash tests, injuries and deaths to pedestrians and cyclists are still very high. in other words: safety for those IN motor vehicles has greatly increased.
why are we so blind to the negatives of the automobile? and so unwilling to take small steps to greatly increase public safety for motor vehicle passengers, pedestrains and cyclists?
what steps can we do to help make our neighborhoods safer for the people that live there? more severe penalties for traffic violations that injure others? more education? more police or public servants to force drivers to act more safely? public-service advertising to alert people to the danger and help them "think" about it as they drive? lobbying for smaller streets and traffic calming? more non-auto pedestrain and bicycle zones? neighborhood watch for reporting "unsafe" drivers and printing names in local newspaper (i.e. using peer pressure/public humiliation as a deterrant)?