It's Friday the 13th, But Odds Are You Won't Be Murdered Today

friday the 13thOh no! It's Friday the 13th. For the superstitious among us, there's so much to worry about! In fact, it turns out, people who have a paralyzing fear of this widely regarded as inauspicious day have a disorder one psychotherapist has dubbed "paraskevidekatriaphobia." (Try saying that 10 times fast!) But even if it is considered an unlucky day, this particular Friday the 13th has brought us news of one health concern we don't actually have to worry so much about: being murdered.

That nugget of news ought to hit Friday the 13th movie villain Jason right in the hockey mask!


For the first time in almost 50 years, homicide failed to make the list of the nation's top 15 causes of death for 2010, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week. What did homicide in? (It had been hanging on at or near the bottom of the list for a while -- taking little leaps during the crack epidemic in the late '80s and early '90s.) It was bumped by something called pneumonitis, or lung-tissue inflammation, sometimes suffered by old people after they choke on food. (Something new for all you paraskevidekatriaphobes to worry about!)

Homicide's decline is due not only to a drop-off in murders across the U.S., the Associated Press reports, but also the aging of the U.S. population. (Homicides are much more common among young people.) Oh, and good news for women: Abusive relationships have also proven less deadly than they used to, due to better victim support and intervention.

So anyway, while you can feel free to worry about the nation's top killers, heart disease and cancer, which have declined overall but still account for almost half of all deaths in the U.S., you can maybe not look behind you quite as frequently and fearfully on your way home tonight. On second thought, no need to take unnecessary chances. And don't go walking under any ladders.

Will you worry about homicide less due to its overall decline?


Image via Esparta/Flickr

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