Posted Feb 3, 2008 12:37 UTC (Sun) by man_ls
In reply to: Mitigation strategy
Parent article: LCA: Bruce Schneier on the two sides of security
If we're talking about fear here, we're always talking about dependency, because fear is
always a result of being dependent.
I'm not sure I follow you here. If a pack of wolves suddenly appears behind me, how is the fear I feel a result of being dependent? I'm dependent on what exactly, on the wolves? On me? On some other people appearing and saving me? If I just hear wolves howling and the hairs on the back of my head suddenly all stand up, where is the dependency? Or when I find a snake in the grass and my palms get all sweaty? When lightning strikes beside my tree? I'm just trying to understand your statement, honestly.
Precisely for this kind of fears we are very well equipped. For the rest, not so much. You argue that a bunch of statistical numbers are not meaningful, and for some perils you are right: a careful assessment is better than a generic one. But e.g. with elevators we are not talking about a high risk or a low risk; statistics tell us that casualties due to cabin falls are zero, or so close to zero that they are not meaningful. 6 passenger deaths per year in the US, mostly due to falls into an open shaft and entanglement of clothes into the door. We don't depend on the internals or the people who maintain them; we shouldn't even worry about cabin falls. In short: they are safe devices, in the same league as escalators. When the cabin bumps in its way there should be no reason to be fearful, and yet we cannot avoid our hearts racing.
In contrast, with cars we all know that regardless of the condition of driver and car we are dependent on the good will of all other drivers. Even if everything else is in perfect condition, if a drunk driver invades your lane or doesn't stop at a red light you are done. Here statistics and anecdotal evidence tell us that we are in peril every minute we pass in a car. How come we feel cozy and secure in our vehicles? Once more, bad judgment.
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