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(Land) Shark Week 2011


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The reason people have a disproportionate fear of pit bulls and sharks is what James Walsh calls “risk telescoping.”    Author of the book True Odds:  How Risk Affects Your Every Day Life, Mr. Walsh defines “risk telescoping” as an exaggerated perception of risk, or, perceiving less common dangers to be more of a threat than more common dangers largely because of media distortions.  People have a fear of predation and being "attacked" and that is why people try to ban pit bulls to "save lives" but are still ok allowing swimming pools, cars, and peanuts to be legal, which all kill many more people every year than dogs do.  But maybe even more than predation and dog attacks, the real source of fear may be the owners (at least in the case of pit bulls...although a shark owner would probably deserve a good look).  As we have seen time and again, pit bull bans may actually stem from concern about "those people " who own them:  "We need to immediately ban pit bulls and not include a grandfather clause for people who already own pit bulls.  We have inner city people who bought homes here ... They don't need to bring their pit bulls here. We need to do this before a child is killed."  - Jeff Norgrove, City of Sterling Heights, MI Citizen Advisory Committee

I tell ya, we don't get no respect. Nyuk Nyuk.


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"Sharks can generate up to 40,000 pounds per square inch of pressure in a single bite."  The mythical/laughable/you-have-to-be-an-idiot-to-believe-this bite force attributed to “pit bulls” is 2000 psi.  The more accurate measured bite force of a "pit bull" is about 320 psi -   about the same as other dogs its size, more than smaller dogs and less than bigger dogs.  Oddly enough the size of an animal affects its bite force.  Physics. Weird.

You are more likely to get bitten by a person than a dog or a shark.

You are more likely to get killed by a person than a dog or a shark.

Parents are more dangerous to children than sharks or dogs.




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Great White Shark:                               Average American Pit Bull Terrier (or land shark):

15-23 ft length, 1500-4200lbs                 1.5-2 ft length, 25-60 lbs

 5-15 rows of teeth                                1 row of teeth

Elasmobranch fish                                 mammal

-There are about 350 shark species known right now.  Coincidentally, about 350 dog breeds could be called “pit bulls” by today’s wildly arbitrary standards.      

-A shark can dislocate and protrude its upper jaw making the top and bottom jaws moveable; dogs cannot…no matter what breed they are.

 -“Sharks hunt for food, not for sport, but they follow the same habits as serial killers do. When on the hunt, both tend to stalk their victims, staying far enough away to be hidden, but close enough to strike when the opportunity arises.”  Unlike convicted killers however, (who can live in any city they please upon release from prison) non-felons who own certain breeds of dogs are prohibited from living in some cities like Denver, Miami and Kansas City Kansas. 

-“Instead of closing its eyelids, a great white shark rolls its eyes into the back of its head when it attacks.”  Pit bull owners have also been known to roll their eyes when people search the internet for sensational news headlines and become instant experts on dog behavior.

-Galeophobia is the fear of sharks, Cynophobia is the fear of dogs, and Politicophobia is the fear of politiciansAnthropophobia is the fear of people.  I wonder if ignora-anthropophobia is a word…

"Blue sharks will keep eating until they regurgitate, after which they go back to eating"…ok some dogs will do this, but we're pretty sure that's regardless of breed or type. 

-"Only 20 of the more than 350 species of shark — a small minority — are known to attack humans."  There are approximately 78 million dogs in the country with about 900,000 bites leading to hospitalization - meaning .01% of dogs we live with bite us seriously, making them about 99.99% safe...just like birth control.  Coincidentally, "human error" is thought to account for the .01% in both cases.


"[A] pit bull will bite like a shark, will bite and lock, and will not release, and if it does, whatever it bites, its going to keep in its mouth.” State v. Peters, 534 So.2d 760, Fla.App. 3 Dist. (1988).  Over the years, "pit bulls" have been laughingly compared to all manner of creatures from lions to sharks to cerberus.  Nothing seems to bring these dim-witted myths into focus like a little dose of reality.  You have to be a special kind of stupid to believe that "pit bulls" and sharks are comparable.  But for those specially stupid people out there, we thought it would be fun to introduce our little friend "Landshark" and use Discovery Channel's Shark Week to look at how dissimilar these "closely related" species are.

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