According to the Christian Science Monitor there are about 800,000 police officers in the U.S. and 160 of them were killed last year (2010), with 59 of those deaths from actual shootouts. How the others died isn’t stated. That’s one death for every 5000 police. One in 5000.
While I can’t seem to find any statistics on the total number of construction workers in the U.S., probably because of the badly depressed housing market and so many of them out of work, Wikipedia does offer these statistics, that put annual construction worker deaths at one for every 7700, almost as dangerous as being a cop.
The difference is that when a construction worker gets killed on the job, it barely makes the back page in a short column. When a cop gets killed it’s Front Page News.
According to Wikipedia once again, there are about 1,400,000 personnel in our military service, and about 5,400 of them were killed last year. That’s one out of every 160. Compare that to the cops 1 out of every 5000, and which would you say had the most dangerous job?
There are about 196,000,000 licensed drivers in the United States as of 2010, and there are about 40,000 traffic fatalities a year, also according to Wikipedia. That’s one death for every 4,900 drivers. IT IS MORE DANGEROUS TO DRIVE A CAR THAN IT IS TO BE A POLICE OFFICER!
Are you getting the point? Cops aren’t heroes, they actually have very safe jobs. The difference is that they get to carry guns and shoot people and get away with often very brutal behavior, because they do have the guns, and when one actually gets killed they have long parades and play bagpipes, with pictures in the newspapers and on TV, their families get fat pensions and everyone gets another 15 minutes of fame. What a bunch of crap.
I recently had an email exchange with some cranky old bastard who’s selling things on the Internet, whom I’d asked a question about something he was selling. Rather than give a straight answer he shot back that he was a Vietnam vet and had been doing this for 30 years and so on and if I didn’t like his response I didn’t have to buy from him.
Being me, I made sure he understood what I thought of his outburst, and that I cared less whether he was a Vietnam vet or not as that had nothing to do with my question.
He then replied with a stream of name-calling and threats and whined that I had no respect for Marines or wounded vets. This deranged person had given no prior mention of the Marines or wounds. My point is that some organizations place themselves so far above us “common people” that they become legends in their own minds. The U.S. Marine Corps is a lot like our police in thinking that they’re really hot shit, when almost every old Marine I ever saw was exactly the same as every old cop I’ve ever seen, just one more fat-bellied, not very bright, beer drinking loudmouth. I served and saw action too but it never occurred to this fool to even think of that before running off at the mouth.
The true heroes are the construction workers who risk their lives climbing up those ladders and working up on scaffolds. The heroes of America are you and I, who drive to work every day, risking our lives on the highways, and those in our military who get sent off to fight jackass wars in hostile lands where we don’t belong and serve no good purpose. At least they get some media recognition when they get blown apart and come home in a closed coffin but that’s a worthless reward in exchange for their lives.
That belligerant Marine is no more hero than anyone else. We’re all heroes. Every time anyone jumps up and clamors for special recognition, all they’re doing is showing how ignorant and needy they are. Innately, just as humans, we do recognize this, which is why we give such special homage to people like Mother Teresa, who spent their lives asking nothing for themselves but worked so hard to help others.
It’s the Mother Teresa’s who give us clarity and perspective and show us who our heroes really are.