In struggling to understand the whole “net” safer concept proposed by red light camera advocates I came up with the cat poop analogy which I think brings the concept down to a more base level that may be easier for some to understand.
I happen to have a backyard that is filled with so much dog poop that it is a dangerous to walk across the lawn. Now one day a young man named Pan Dike (no relation to Pan Peter) came knocking at my door with an offer to help me take care of my dog poop problem. His proposal he explained, would reduce my chances of stepping in dog poop and at the same time provide a little income for both he and I. Really?
Where’s the catch I asked? And young Pan showed me a report from a study of his proven system that not only would benefit me with regards to poop, but paid him a tidy allowance of which he was willing to share. Seeing the disbelief in my eyes, he showed me a study of 7 homes in my neighborhood as proof that on average owners were 24.6% less likely to step in poop. And he reminded me that it wouldn’t cost me a penny to try. Being the greedy and gullible schmuck that I am, I bit on his poop proposal like a two for a dollar Snickers sale.
Arriving home after a long day of work I decided to slip out and enjoy my now much safer backyard. What the heck! I looked down to see that I had stepped in poop. What happened to my 24% reduction in dog poop that Pan Dike had been promised? It was then that I perceived the subtle difference in odor. I didn’t own a cat, but I had just stepped in cat poop.
I took a closer read at my con-tract as I dialed Pan’s number. As it turns out the shyster was going throughout the neighborhood picking up dog poop just like he said he would, but he was also dumping cat poop from his litter box cleaning service out in it’s place.
How does that make my backyard safer? Well you see said young Pan Dike justifying his smelly deed, even though there may be just as many poop piles in your backyard, you are 24.6% less likely to hit dog poop and cat poop you see, it’s smaller and therefore less likely to be stepped in. So even though you still have a yard filled with poop piles you are in fact 9.9% “net” safer than you were. It’s kind of like when they install those red light cameras causing tail end accidents that are “net” safer than the T-bone collision they used to have more of.