Even Jaws was based on some truly unfortunate shit that really did happen.
The problem with this type of comparison is that it's usually taking the entire population into account. Figuring the landlocked citizens of Nebraska into shark attack numbers is absurd, as was pointed out by the Freakonomics people when that famous "vending machines cause more deaths than sharks" statistic made the rounds a few years back. There are so many factors that need to be considered before you can just toss that fact in your wallet and use it as universal shark protection.
For starters, imagine you're standing in 4 feet of water and you see a shark swimming around 8 feet away. Now, imagine you're alone in a room and there's a vending machine 8 feet away. Your instinctive response to the first situation is going to be complete and total panic. Your response to the second would be a quick assessment of whether your snack preference is skewing toward salty or sweet that day. These are completely different situations.
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Dude, look out, Type 2 diabetes is behind you!
Also, if that strikes you as a fantastical comparison, keep in mind that the world capital for shark attacks is New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where shark activity is such that scientists estimate that anyone who's been in that water has been within 10 feet of a shark. Getting attacked isn't a lottery at that point, it's more like a raffle.
Or what about lightning? People love to talk about how you're more likely to die by God's most trusted brand of fury than any number of other potential killers, including sharks. But here's the thing: Lightning can get you anywhere. In the water, on land ... anywhere. Meanwhile, when's the last time a shark attacked someone at a Herbie Hancock concert?
Sharks attack fewer people than lightning because sharks are given fewer opportunities. If sharks could move about cities and towns the same way they do in the ocean and were found in the same numbers, we'd pray for lightning just on the off chance it might take out a few of the land sharks that routinely consume our people.
Pictured: The unspeakably tragic death of Dan Aykroyd.