First, a mea culpa. I have a fair amount of statistics under my belt, and one of the first things they teach you is that regular people don’t do statistics. Not without a lot of time to think it through.
Take, for example, the differences between statistical risk and hazard. IMHO that was illustrated best by some volcanologists dealing with the Air Force when Mt. Pinatubo – very possibly prone to a pyroclastic flow – was threatening to erupt. “There’s a 99% chance that everyone will be fine. There’s a 1% chance that everyone will be 100% dead.”
1% pyroclastic explosion is the risk. 100% dead – is the hazard.
So since I know statistics, and know most people don’t automatically grasp them right off… Well. Here’s some numbers. I’ll throw them at anyone reading, just like they’d be coming at an SG team member in a crisis.
0.3 seconds. 300 homicides. 4% death rate.
Now, some context.
0.3 seconds: the average time in American English between one person ending their statement, and another person responding. So that’s about how much time you have to think about what someone’s finished saying and pick what you mean to say.
Not much time. Which is why most people are composing what they mean to say while the other person’s still talking. Meaning they often lose the end of what someone else is saying. On top of that, the brain uses sloppy thinking to keep up. In short, shortcuts.
300 homicides: about the death rate in NYC.
This is a shortcut.
Janet isn’t using this shortcut, because she’s been dealing with player death rates for a year now. She’s had months to grasp how many deaths are coming out of a relatively small population of noncombat personnel.
Which brings us to the third number: 4% death rate. In combat numbers, 4% fatalities is… not good. But it is a sustainable loss rate. Especially when you’re trying to save a whole planet.
For a civilian population – no. It’s not acceptable. But civilian is not Jack’s baseline. When someone’s taking in a lot of info in a hurry, they fall back on what they already know. It’s human nature.
I like heroes to be human.