The Times West Virginian

Life

August 14, 2012

10 things that kill more people than sharks

(Continued)

Other than the very few people who suffer death-by-shark while employed on the oceans, shark deaths can be prevented entirely if you follow the instructions of the Jaws tagline: "Don't go in the water."

Moreover, it's sharks that should be afraid of us — humans kill roughly 50 million sharks each year, for an unsustainable fatality attrition ratio of 9,000,000-to-1. Yet we continue to indulge our fears of the "perfect predator," with more than 27 million Americans watching some portion of Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" programming, which premiered Sunday and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Enough already, people! It's time to set the record straight. Here, then, are 10 items more likely to cause your death in the United States.

Trampolines: 1.1 deaths per year. Thankfully, after years of injuries and lawsuits, this hot, new Olympic-medal sport "is now mostly conducted in specialist gyms with certified trainers."

Roller coasters: 1.15 deaths per year. Unless you decide to take a spin on the Euthanasia Coaster, keep your hands inside the car; your next thrill-ride could be to the coroner's office.

Free-standing kitchen-range tip-overs: 1.31 deaths per year. If your home lacks a built-in stove, the next meal you cook could be your last supper.

Vending machines: 2.06 deaths per year. If too many of the high-fat snacks or sugary sodas don't take a leg or your life prematurely, rock or tilt one too violently while looking for a freebie, and you'll be sleeping with the Pepperidge Farm goldfishes.

Riding lawnmowers: 5.22 deaths per year. This mobile Grim Reaper might save your legs the grueling chore of walking around your lawn, but be sure to avoid the very sharp blade spinning 100 times per second.

Fireworks: 6.6 deaths per year. Most people are killed by powerful illegal fireworks and stupidity — "When the fireworks did not go off, the victim looked inside the PVC piping" — even as this terrifying safety poster warns: "Sparklers Can Burn at 2,000°F. Hot as a Blow Torch!"

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