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January 15, 2009, 08:59 PM   #95
Brian Pfleuger
Staff

Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 17,107
Quote:
 The more traffic stops a police officer makes then the more probable that they will get attacked for example.

Let's say that the odds of an attack are 1 in 10,000, just as an example. Statistically, each and every stop has those very same odds. If the officer has made 9,999 stops, is he guaranteed to be attacked on the next one? Nope. The odds are still 1 in 10,000.

If you had 4 officers that had made 40,000 stops you could expect 4 attacks in those stops. Those attacks could have all been on the same officer or 1 each or any other combination.

The part of your statement that is correct is that every stop has a small chance of resulting in an attack. Therefore, if the officer keeps making stops forever he will eventually be attacked. However, there is never any way of predicting which stop will result in an attack.

The improbable NEVER becomes probable. Having a rare event happen doesn't make it not rare. If you have a 1: 100 million chance of winning the lottery, and you do win, it was not suddenly "probable" that you would win. You just got really lucky being the "1" and not the "99,999,999"
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