The moment I heard about the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, I knew I’d soon see depressing photos of animals. That’s how it goes with oil spills and oil leaks. Animals are threatened, and some die, and this is both news but also a source of dramatic imagery to accompany coverage of the accident.

 

And so it goes with coverage of the leak in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s estimated that more than 200,000 gallons of oil are leaking each day into the Gulf, a region rich with life. The impact has been illustrated with photos of dead sea turtles that have washed up along the Gulf Coast. Images from Ship Island, Mississippi reveal that dead birds, sharks, and other fish have been found there, too. CBS News created a bannerMore…

People have crazy ideas about how they will die. They fear earthquakes and floods, murderous attackers and terrorists. They worry about car crashes and airplane crashes, shark attacks and snake bites. Lately, the big fear centers on the return of pandemic influenza. I personally have an unreasonable fear of falling over the side of a cliff.

These dangers are all possible ways to die, of course, but their likelihood is incredibly small. And while theoretically many of these dangers could be averted — by steering clear of earthquake- and flood-prone areas, eschewing cars and planes, staying out of the water, practicing social isolation during flu season — it’s no way to live a full life. These are all, in sum, largely rare and uncontrollable fates.

Consider the facts on what is far more likely to kill us, according to “The Global Burden of Disease and Injury Series,” a massive compendium… More…