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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Actually, I didn't. If you'll note, I did say that there were some 90,000 thru-hiker attempts out of the roughly 20,000+ completions, and that the presence of section and other hikers reduces the effective rate: "There are probably 10 times as many section hikers on the trail as thru-hikers, all potential targets as well, which would reduce the AT rate substantially. But not by a factor of 10 as they typically spend a week or less on the trail. And it's probably fair to assume that the murderers probably don't know if you're a thru-hiker or section hiker. But even so, the presence of other hikers/potential victims obviously would reduce the overall any-hiker murder rate. The section hiker factor probably cuts the actual any-hiker murder rate in half or more."

    Are these VERY rough estimates? Yes. There just isn't enough data to get really accurate rates. But it was just to point out that the effective murder rate isn't the almost alarmingly high one of 7 out of 20,000 - or even 90,000. I would hesitate to use the 2-3 million number as most are day hikers, and almost all the murders have been related to hikers staying overnight camped or at shelters. That's also why day hiker murders like Meredith Emerson weren't considered, even though a strong case could be made to include at least 4 other murders of day and other hikers related to the AT, but not on the AT proper. The best way would be to come up with a ratio of hiker miles or time vs murder rate, but this would be most difficult given available data.
    "Based on this, the AT thru-hiker murder rate is slightly higher than the US average." This was your conclusion. It's very wrong, based on the reasons you stated.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    "Based on this, the AT thru-hiker murder rate is slightly higher than the US average." This was your conclusion. It's very wrong, based on the reasons you stated.
    Yes, based upon not factoring in the presence of section hikers. Which is why there is a second paragraph that expands upon that statement and points out its flaws. Read the full post and don't take it out of context.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    While flying in a passenger plane may be a safer way to travel, it is also thru that
    Being a professional Aircraft Pilot or Flight Engineer is classified as on of the deadliest jobs in this country.


    The 10 Deadliest Jobs:
    1. Logging workers
    2. Fishers and related fishing workers
    3. Aircraft pilot and flight engineers
    4. Roofers
    5. Structural iron and steel workers
    6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
    7. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
    8. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers
    9. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers is country.
    10. Construction laborer

    There is a point in here somewhere, but I have forgotten what it is.

    Oh, I know: seven AT Thru hiker deaths at the hands of a complete stranger is statistically noteworthy, and should be taken into consideration when making rational decisions — not out of fear, but a calm understanding of that (still small) possibility.
    Because pilots also fly much less safe prop airplanes and helicopters too and have health risk exposures unique to their job. Its not because being a passenger on a commercial air flight in the USA isn't a safe way to travel. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible.

    Your other post using actual statistics was a little bit more interesting. You compare the number of deaths of thru-hikers (7) and claim there have been 100,000 thru-hikers. Assuming your numbers are correct, I've read the overall homicide rate in 2018 in the USA was 5.3 per 100,000. Even factoring in that thru-hikers are only out hiking for half the year it still doesn't sound like we have a large enough sample size of thru hikers to claim that is a statistically significant difference. Do we have any statisticians who want to chime in?

    Also for the months you are hiking you are probably driving a lot less and therefore improving your odds of avoiding the motor vehicle death. And this doesn't even count in the enormous health benefits of all the exercise you are getting. This is the same reason that while per mile biking to work say is more dangerous than driving per mile, when you factor in the health benefits it can be argued its a safer activity. https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013...ransportation/

    But what I think this boils down for you Rickb is that you bristle at people calling your fear of death on the trail by homicide irrational. You think its completely rational to worry about a risk that is 7 out of 100,000. Can I ask you if you have the same worry about routinely driving your car (assuming you drive an average amount, a much more likely way for you to die by the way, roughly 90 deaths per day)? https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor...ety/index.html Or of being murdered as you walk around your home town each year (5.3 out of 100,000)? Or of heart attacks or other health risks caused by lack of exercise and/or poor diet? Or the many other actually greater risks that you face while hiking? (hint greatest risk of death while hiking is falling) https://www.backpacker.com/survival/a-dozen-ways-to-die. If you do worry about everything then that's fine too I suppose but then perhaps try not to be bothered so much by people that don't worry about things that even you admit are a small possibility.

    I actually do agree with you that before you go out in the wilderness to hike or do any activity you should spend some time considering the risks you may face and consider how best to minimize them. But I will continue to strongly disagree with you when you keep trying to imply that your risk of being murdered on the AT is high. It is not relative to the risks we face in every day life and even the specific risks we face while on the trail.

    https://aeon.co/ideas/believing-with...-morally-wrong

    As for the OP I believe his question was appropriately answered by the first few posters and I second their overall message. I would welcome more discussion focused on answering the OPs questions or actual statisticians who could probably set us all straight. I hope this post was helpful to someone.
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 31/48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Yes, based upon not factoring in the presence of section hikers. Which is why there is a second paragraph that expands upon that statement and points out its flaws. Read the full post and don't take it out of context.
    I'm a math major with a concentration in statistics. I kills me that people will link to a poorly constructed study, and come out with a very wrong conclusion. The general public tends to walk away believing the conclusion. Your conclusion had no legitimate statistical base, even in the context of how you stated it, and that's what I'm pointing out.

  5. #65

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    Here's some official and professional data to consider https://crim.sas.upenn.edu/fact-chec...omicide-victim

    So after looking at it and realizing that I am my own worst enemy I have resolved to carry a small fixed blade to:
    A. protect myself from the cold
    B. protect myself from a predator(human,wild,or rabid)
    C.protect myself from an out of control domesticated dog (dog lover here but not all dogs realize that)
    D.protect myself from hunger by whittling a spoon
    E.protect myself from weather by whittling a tent peg
    So that's why I lug the extra 4.5 oz out there.GEE,I hope people don't mind!

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    I'm a math major with a concentration in statistics. I kills me that people will link to a poorly constructed study, and come out with a very wrong conclusion. The general public tends to walk away believing the conclusion. Your conclusion had no legitimate statistical base, even in the context of how you stated it, and that's what I'm pointing out.
    I noted that the available data is very poor in terms of constructing an accurate result. It's a rough estimate as I stated. I didn't put it out there as an authoritative fact, only as an opinion and how I came to that conclusion. You are free to disagree. But I would be happy to see a better estimate taking into account the data that is available and some consideration of the other factors that might influence a rough conclusion.

  7. #67
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    Without naming names, some posters are doing a rather poor job of reading my mind.

    Round numbers, something like 20,000 people have hiked the AT and about 100,000 people have attempted a thru hike.

    7 AT Thru hikers have been murdered many hundreds of miles in the middle of their hikes.

    For some, this number seams “reasonable” given the large numbers involved.

    I think differently.

    If 7 AT thru hikes were killed by bears, or widow makers, or exposure, or falls or any other vector, the conversation would be far different.

    The conversation would be focused on how to mitigate the risk (even though is is relatively small when compared to dying of say, Diabetes), rather than just shrugging it off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Actually, I didn't. If you'll note, I did say that there were some 90,000 thru-hiker attempts out of the roughly 20,000+ completions, used the 90,000 as the thru-hiker base, and added that the presence of section and other hikers reduces the effective rate: "There are probably 10 times as many section hikers on the trail as thru-hikers, all potential targets as well, which would reduce the AT rate substantially. But not by a factor of 10 as they typically spend a week or less on the trail. And it's probably fair to assume that the murderers probably don't know if you're a thru-hiker or section hiker. But even so, the presence of other hikers/potential victims obviously would reduce the overall any-hiker murder rate. The section hiker factor probably cuts the actual any-hiker murder rate in half or more."

    Are these VERY rough estimates? Yes. There just isn't enough data to get really accurate rates. But it was just to point out that the effective murder rate isn't the almost alarmingly high one of 7 out of 20,000 - or even 90,000. I would hesitate to use the 2-3 million number as most are day hikers, and almost all the murders have been related to hikers staying overnight camped or at shelters. That's also why day hiker murders like Meredith Emerson weren't considered, even though a strong case could be made to include at least 4 other murders of day and other hikers related to the AT, but not on the AT proper. The best way would be to come up with a ratio of hiker miles or time vs murder rate, but this would be most difficult given available data.

    No matter how you cook the books, the AT isn't 5 or 10 times safer nor 5 or 10 times more dangerous than the world surrounding it. The crime rate is within the expected range of the society it's located in.
    I think it is important to start by estimating how many "person-years" are spent on the trail. If you live in Baltimore, you probably spend 350+ days a year in Baltimore. If you leave Baltimore for vacation, there is probably someone not living in in Baltimore that visits Baltimore to make up for the time you're not there. So for 1000 people who live in Baltimore there is very close to 1000 "person-years" spent in Baltimore. You have 12 full months during which you are at risk of being murdered in Baltimore. Cities that have 37 murders per 100,000 population typically have those 100,000 people present in the city almost the entire year. One might guess that cities with 37 murders per 100,000 population would see about 18.5 murders in 6 months per 100,000 population.

    If you thru-hike, you spend about 6 months on the trail. That means for 1000 successful thru-hikers, there are only 500 "person-years" spent on the trail. That means if 1 of those 1000 gets murdered, that is comparable to 2 of them being killed in a year when comparing apples-to-apples with a normal city. Similarly, if a city has 20 murders as of June 30, one would estimate it will have 40 murders by the end of the year.

    Baltimore has different regions. One can reasonably measure the murder rate of downtown and would probably not be surprised if it is different than the northern suburbs. 10 extra murders downtown has no affect on the murder rate in the suburbs. The Appalachian Trail has thru-hikers, section-hikers and day-hikers. One can estimate the murder rate of each population separately even if one thinks the rates ought to be roughly the same.

    For Baltimore, one might guess that the NorthWest Suburb ought to have roughly the same murder rate as the NorthEast suburb (I don't really know). Still, their murder rates can be measured independently and distinctly.

    For the AT, one could consider thru-hikers as one region and section-hikers as another, each with their own population of "person-years" and number of murders. If 1000 section-hikers each spend one week on the trail, that is about like 19 "person-years" on the trail. Obviously it takes a lot more section-hikers to accumulate the same time and risk as it does thru-hikers. Since it is much harder to estimate the number of "person-years" accumulated by section hikers, one may choose to just look at the population of thru-hikers as if it were a single region of a city.

    So I would say your original estimate of 7 murders in 90,000 is reasonable for thru-hikers and it is not necessary to consider the number of section hikers or the number of section-hikers murdered. Section hikers are like a different city with a different set of murder victims. Section hikers may be at roughly the same risk, but the number of section-hikers and the number of section-hiker murders are not necessary to calculate the murder rate for thru-hikers.

    Your initial calculation of 90,000 thru-hikers seemed very reasonable to me.

    But in terms of "person-years", I would suggest that the average thru-hiker of these 90,000 spends probably 2.5 months on the trail. We can say 3 months because it's easier. In terms of "person-years", 90,000 thru-hikers equals 22,500 "person-years" on the trail. If there are 7 murder for 22,500 "person-years", that is about 31 murders per 100,000 "person-years" which is comparable to many large cities in the US.

    To do a similar estimate of section-hiker murder rate would be more difficult because it is harder to estimate how many there are and how long the stay on the trail on average.

    I would guess that section hikers incur roughly the same risk as thru-hikers. But they spend much less time on the trail so that the average section hiker is less likely to be murdered while on the trail than the average thru-hiker. Similarly, someone that swims in ocean every day is more likely to be attacked by a shark than someone who wades in chest high for 5 minutes once a year. If 1 million people spend 5 minutes in the ocean and no one gets attacked, that doesn't prove the ocean is safer than land.

    Regardless, I stand by the claim that the trail is not substantially safer than the rest of America. Here is a link that lists 12 murders in the last 45 years, although I didn't read carefully enough to see if each one was reported as either a thru-hiker or section-hiker. I just accept the claim that 7 thru-hikers have been murdered.

    https://www.richmond.com/news/virgin...e785abc40.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garlic Guy View Post
    ... I have backpacked on the AT, in Colorado, Wyoming and many states in between and never once felt unsafe, even with grizz in Wyoming, cautious and prepared yes, but not in danger/fear. .
    I will most likely never do serious backpacking or camping in CO, WY, AK, etc because of grizzly bears ( given the taxonomical name "Ursus horribilis" for very good reasons by Meriwether Lewis based on his encounters with them and descriptions by Native Americans of their encounters) and the nearly pathological fear that I have of them.

    That aside, just how do you prepare for an encounter with a 400-790 lbs. bear with 6" claws that can run 30 mph? If you wake up and hear/smell the thing in your campsite, other than praying to the baby Jebus and sh**ing one's pants, what's Plan B?


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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    While flying in a passenger plane may be a safer way to travel, it is also thru that
    Being a professional Aircraft Pilot or Flight Engineer is classified as on of the deadliest jobs in this country.


    The 10 Deadliest Jobs:
    1. Logging workers
    2. Fishers and related fishing workers
    3. Aircraft pilot and flight engineers
    4. Roofers
    5. Structural iron and steel workers
    6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
    7. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
    8. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers
    9. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers is country.
    10. Construction laborer

    There is a point in here somewhere, but I have forgotten what it is.

    Oh, I know: seven AT Thru hiker deaths at the hands of a complete stranger is statistically noteworthy, and should be taken into consideration when making rational decisions — not out of fear, but a calm understanding of that (still small) possibility.
    Way off topic on my part but you misunderstand the pilot statistic above. It is not 'professional' pilots they are talking about as the number of them who die in crashes is almost zero - there has not been a fatal commercial airline crash in the US in over a decade. It is 'private' pilots as there are an average of 5 small plane crashes in the US every day and about 500 people die in them a year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    I will most likely never do serious backpacking or camping in CO, WY, AK, etc because of grizzly bears ( given the taxonomical name "Ursus horribilis" for very good reasons by Meriwether Lewis based on his encounters with them and descriptions by Native Americans of their encounters) and the nearly pathological fear that I have of them.

    That aside, just how do you prepare for an encounter with a 400-790 lbs. bear with 6" claws that can run 30 mph? If you wake up and hear/smell the thing in your campsite, other than praying to the baby Jebus and sh**ing one's pants, what's Plan B?

    As someone who has met a grizzly bear and also grew up camping in their country there is basically 3 answers to your question.

    1. If you don't startle them, or God forbid get near a mother's cubs by accident, then you mind your own business and back slowly away and go way around them. You will be fine.

    2. If they are going to threaten you or attack you then Bear Spray is the most effective deterrent statistics say. Get it in the air between you so they might breath it in and if they get close enough get it in their face, eyes, mouth. I have never used it on one but you could carry it if you felt you wanted it.

    3. Carry a .44 magnum and use it if you have to. But unless you have experience using a weapon when there is only a second or two to save you it probably will not work. Bear Spray is more effective as you don't really have to aim well and it does not make them mad as it is an irritant that burns like crazy and they are more likely to run away. Wounding one with a gun is more likely to make them mad than stop them. And there are laws applicable about carrying guns into National Parks and across state lines etc which are going to impact that decision. Plus they are very heavy.

    Most people survive big bear attacks by rolling up in a ball and trying to protect their head and neck. Don't fight a grizzly go passive - most people attacked survive. Fight a black bear as they are chickens and easily give up if you fight and scream at them - easily is a comparative term here obviously.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    I will most likely never do serious backpacking or camping in CO, WY, AK, etc because of grizzly bears ( given the taxonomical name "Ursus horribilis" for very good reasons by Meriwether Lewis based on his encounters with them and descriptions by Native Americans of their encounters) and the nearly pathological fear that I have of them.That aside, just how do you prepare for an encounter with a 400-790 lbs. bear with 6" claws that can run 30 mph? If you wake up and hear/smell the thing in your campsite, other than praying to the baby Jebus and sh**ing one's pants, what's Plan B?
    Yeah, I almost always hike solo, and it's the one thing keeping me from booking that trip out West into grizzly territory. When I do, I'll have bear spray and a 10mm glock on me. They also sell electric fences for camp, but I haven't looked into them to see how much they weigh or the volume they take up. All this fear planning, then I read reports of another 100# lady who solo'd the CDT.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  13. #73

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    [QUOTE=4eyedbuzzard;2258713]It's difficult to come up with a completely accurate death rate by murder for thru-hikers, but here goes: As of 2018 data, ATC reported that 20,479 people had completed a thru-hike. The completion range every year runs between 20 and 25%. So taking the middle ground of 23%, some 90,000 have been considered thruhikers at some point as of 2018. Lets go with 7 as the actual murder count, although there have been several other murders of hikers in the corridor that just as easily could have been thruhikers and not day or section hikers. That puts the thru-hiker murder rate at 7 per 90,000, or 7.78 per 100,000. In 2018, the overall US murder rate was roughly 5 per 100,000. Based on this, the AT thru-hiker murder rate is slightly higher than the US average.

    The AT murder rate is in No way remotely as high as the US average. You are comparing every murder on the AT over a span of how many decades?, to the murder rate for one, random year in the US. How many murders occurred in the US over the decades it took to accumulate a total of seven on the AT?
    I'm all about protecting yourself and your family, being prepared and self reliance. If any law abiding American wants to pack a gun on trail, more power to them. But statistics are tied to fear mongering and almost never paint an accurate picture because they can be skewed to support any argument. Most people outside of engineering , mechanical, or careers in mathematics have trouble making correct change so throwing a string of numbers at them and making a claim that's in no way supported by the numbers instils a false reality. The At in particular and long distance hiking in general has never put anyone at higher risk of being a victim of violent crime than day to day life in any city or rural area in the US.
    To the OP... Good luck with overcoming the irrational fears associated with being in the woods. As for the very real threats that do exist... practice good hygiene. Also, consider not walking with the telescopic aluminum toothpicks known as trekking poles. Replace them with a five foot long hickory staff. The end will nub down and need to be whittled back to a taper periodically giving you an excuse to carry a reasonable size knife and it wont break if you take a tumble. Five feet is long enough to keep some one or something further than arms length from you and there isn't a stray dog alive who doesn't respect a good stick!
    "I love the unimproved works of God" Horace Kephart 1862-1931

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    Yeah, I almost always hike solo, and it's the one thing keeping me from booking that trip out West into grizzly territory. When I do, I'll have bear spray and a 10mm glock on me. They also sell electric fences for camp, but I haven't looked into them to see how much they weigh or the volume they take up. All this fear planning, then I read reports of another 100# lady who solo'd the CDT.
    I don't intend to hijack this thread, but in re bear spray, I've seen videos of grizzly bears -- size, speed, ferocity, fearlessness -- and then I try to imagine myself trying to ward off One Of Them -- say, one of the 600 lbs. guys running at me at 25 mph -- with a 6 ounce aerosol can of REI pepper spray, and I know for a 100% fact that it wouldn't work for me. It may work for others, and I hope it does, but it wouldn't work for me. So as much as I would like to hike out west, and although my daughter lives in Colorado Springs and hikes and climbs all the time and always wants me to come out to do the same, I just can't and won't do it. A car load of drunken West Virginia rednecks doesn't scare me; a single bear does. Call me irrational, call me a chicken****, I don't care.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    I will most likely never do serious backpacking or camping in CO, WY, AK, etc because of grizzly bears ( given the taxonomical name "Ursus horribilis" for very good reasons by Meriwether Lewis based on his encounters with them and descriptions by Native Americans of their encounters) and the nearly pathological fear that I have of them.

    That aside, just how do you prepare for an encounter with a 400-790 lbs. bear with 6" claws that can run 30 mph? If you wake up and hear/smell the thing in your campsite, other than praying to the baby Jebus and sh**ing one's pants, what's Plan B?
    Best Grizzly attack scenes are in the Faces Of Death DOC series when one takes the head off a stupid acting Touron with one swipe of it's paw. The other one is Lenardo De caprio being mauled in The Revenant. Please pass the popcorn. Can we imagine what it was like crawling back to the fort in his conditions over that terrain avoiding the hazards?

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    here's a true story about a guy who had his face torn apart by a grizzly.....


    http://danbigley.com/beyondthebear/



    i met him over a NYE run of some music in Colorado shorty after it happened...........

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    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    That aside, just how do you prepare for an encounter with a 400-790 lbs. bear with 6" claws that can run 30 mph? If you wake up and hear/smell the thing in your campsite, other than praying to the baby Jebus and sh**ing one's pants, what's Plan B?
    Defecation on demand is not altogether a bad plan. Making the other guy smell better and to the discriminating bear engaged in a bit of mauling likely taste better as well, could be the holy grail of self defense mechanisms. Practicing for this circumstance however would not lend well to developing relationships on the trail. Baby Jebsus, famed food truck cook and 1987 runner up in the "New England Cottage Cheese Spitting Festival" would be the lesser choice in this circumstance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedCF View Post
    The AT murder rate is in No way remotely as high as the US average. You are comparing every murder on the AT over a span of how many decades?, to the murder rate for one, random year in the US. How many murders occurred in the US over the decades it took to accumulate a total of seven on the AT?
    I believe 4eyebuzzard made a pretty solid case that the AT is in fact not substantially safer than the rest of the US. You've dismissed it with nothing more than religious conviction. Obviously average murder rate must take into account population numbers and time involved. A small population (AT hikers) extended over a long time is comparable to a larger population over a shorter time, which is the approach 4eyebuzzard took.

    I know religious convictions die hard, and for those of us who don't fear hiking the AT it can be fun to tell others how safe it is. But any dispassionate analysis that makes an apples-to-apples comparison of populations along with time spent on trail leads to the conclusion that the AT is just as dangerous as the rest of America in terms of homicide rates.

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    Simple analysis since most won't read longer posts:

    If there have been 90,000 attempts at a thru-hike and we assume the average thru-hike attempt results in a person spending 3 months on the trail (most don't finish), then that is the equivalent of 1 town of size 22,500 occupied for 12 months of ONE year.

    If there are 7 murder in a town that size, that is about 31 murders per 100,000, which is about the same murder rate of Kansas City, MO and is actually significantly higher than most of the US.

    For those that say "but this happened over 45 years!!!". True. But to my knowledge, no one has lived on the AT for 45 straight years. If you thru-hike in 2001 and get murdered in 2005, you do not count as a thru-hiker murdered on the AT.

    If there were 90,000 thru-hikers EVERY year, then that would be equivalent of a town of size 22,500 occupied for the last 45 or so years. Some are confusing this point as if the total number of years increases the size of the denominator. It does not. Total number of years can be ignored since we know the total number of thru-hike attempts (approximately).

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    John B,
    (IMG_20190911_103915841_HDR.jpgIMG_20190911_121205970_HDR.jpgIMG_20190911_103210407_HDR.jpg Couple warning signs in Glacier for bear but than look at the scenery.... There are no grizzlies in Colorado (one reported sighting since 1979) so you can rest easy. Common sense is the factor. Do not sleep with or near your food. Do not cook or prepare your food near where you camp. Make noise when hiking to let bears know you are around. Chances of crossing a grizz are slim. Unless they are with their young, feeding or sometimes surprised (thus the making noise) they are not aggressive. Just got back from Glacier National Park in Montana. Talked to a ranger. There are approx. 300 grizzly bears in the park, the park covers 1,583 square miles. You can do the odds of encountering a grizz or being attacked by one. Yes, a bear can come into your camp so can a mountain lion, etc. Lets talk statistics, Fatal Bear attacks vs Fatal Shark attacks - 1900-2009. Lower 48, 14 fatal bear attacks, 30 fatal shark attacks. Another stat, 1 in 2.7 million park visitors are likely to be injured by a bear, odds go up in the backcountry to 1 in 232,000 per day. Alaska is a different story for bear attacks. I will takes those odds in the lower 48 to enjoy and experience some beautiful less seen backcountry scenery, but that is me. What is your "Plan B" when you go into the ocean, just in case you are attacked by a shark? I am a vet, and have a carry permit and go to the range frequently but having a handgun against a 400-1200lb pissed off bear is something I never want to encounter. Your shot better be dead on as bears can reportedly hit 35 mph (Usain Bolt's top speed is 27 mph) so shot placement is a life or death situation. I will take my chances and be cautious and enjoy. To each their own. I do not have a death warrant but am not going to avoid the things I enjoy for a possible animal/bad person encounter. Be responsible, cautious and know your surroundings. As mentioned, how many folks get killed each day in major city yet people still visit.
    This thread has taken a turn off course from the OP's questions for sure!
    To the OP, as mentioned, trust your gut feelings and get out more!

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