Sharks

There has been lots of attention about the Western Australian decision to start culling the sharks. Particularly pointing out that really, sharks kill very few people in the entire world and that the money would be better spent fixing something that actually kills people.

But look at it from the pollies view.

1: Sharks are scary. They have big nasty teeth. Hence it is easy for people to imagine being chewed by one and easy to be frightened of this scary monster. So you don’t have to spend much effort to get people scared.

2. They don’t kill many people. In fact most years they kill no one at all (in Western Australia). So anything you do will look good. It is guaranteed to succeed. Even if you bought a single plastic canoe and put in it a man with a spear you could say: see no one died! You look good. You can pat yourself on the back and announce a job well done.

3. Putting up all this effort, such as for the cull, makes the easily scared and gullible people feel good and safe. It is better that they feel safe about something that is not a risk because of the item above. It is a circus show.

4. Should someone die, then you can just say, well we told you that they are dangerous and scary. Everyone is doing a great job and we will work to make thing better. You don’t really need to worry about a spate of mass killings. So the risk is easily contained and the death will make all the effort seem vindicated.

5. And then there is the whole topic on misdirection. People who hardly ever go to the beach can worry about sharks killing people and ignore the real threats like bad diet, wrong substances, poor exercise, other people, car accidents and the like. Let alone filling up the pages of the media and blocking out other things, like say environmental protection zones for the aforementioned sharks.

The average number of fatalities worldwide per year between 2001 and 2006 from unprovoked shark attacks is 4.3; which means that you have a bit higher than a 1 in 2 billion chance of being killer by a shark.

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