Monday, February 17, 2014

Snake-handling pastor seemed to think his only death options were snake bite or car wreck

    A snake handler by the name of Jamie Coots has died from -- drum roll please -- handling snakes.
    The Kentucky pastor, presumably Eastern Kentucky pastor, had been featured in a year-long National Geographic series on the snake-handling splinter of Pentecostalism. He had repeatedly said he would never seek medical attention for a snake bite, and was true to his word.
    I just saw a clip of him on television, and he had the following words of wisdom: "I'd rather die from a serpent bite with folks around me praying then die from a car wreck with everybody around me cussing."
    The chance of dying in a auto accident during one's lifetime is less than one-in-100 (Source: The Odds of Dying). About a third of the people who die in car wrecks have been drinking, so by not drinking and wearing a safety belt one can reduce this to perhaps one-in-150 or less.
    The chance of the average person dying from a Snake, Bee or other Venomous Bite or Sting is approximately one-in-100,000. This presumes, of course, that one doesn't play with snakes. I would guess the chance of an accidental snake-bite death for an average citizen to be one-in-500,000 or less.
    Rev. Coots decided to take two long-shot ways of dying and to treat them as if they were the only way to go out of this world. Option one, death by serpent bite with congregants praying. Option two, death by car wreck with bystanders cussing. (Do people always cuss at car wrecks?). So he essentially chose death by snake bite, basing his choice on an obviously false dichotomy.
    He had other options. He could have lived a nice, long life and died of old age. Our lives are in the hands of God, but I believe it to be His will that we strive to avoid death by all of life's longshots and instead die of old age.
    With Coots's death, America's collective IQ has gone up. Unfortunately he had already bred, so there is no eugenic effect.

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