Have I Shaken a Murderer's Hand?

What are the odds? I imagine that there are going to be a few too many variables to get a precise # but even an educated guess would be most interesting. Lets say for the average male in a big city to have exchanged words/met a murder or rapist?


What do you mean by murderer? Are you asking whether you met someone who, at the time you met him, had already killed someone? Or, are you asking whether someone you met became a murderer since you met him? You’re more likely to get a yes on the second question, because someone who already killed someone might be arrested and put in jail. If you haven’t killed someone yet, then you can’t be arrested (unless you’re living inside Minority Report). As you said, there are a lot of variables, but whether you mean already-murderers or future-murderers makes a difference.

I suppose I’m also not familiar with the stats on # of solved crimes, but lets keep things broad, so met either someone who has or will commit rape or murder?

The murder rate was 8 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1995 according to the FBI website. So the 12,500th person you talk to is a murderer, more or less.

Ever shake hands with a stranger? At a ball game, at a bar, waiting for the New Years ball to drop? You’ve shaken hands with a lot more felons than saints, I promise you.

About twenty years ago, I drove to a nearby historic town, stopped in at the bar and chatted up the owner. I even drew his portrait just for kicks. He’s now serving a life sentence for killing a woman. Hey, he wasn’t a murderer yet.

I don’t think I’ve met 12,500 ppl, though I could be wrong.

Krokodil: Perhaps you served as his muse?

If you change “murderer” to “killer” I’d say the number you’ve met/will meet would shoot up quite a bit. A friend’s dad was driving his truck, crashed, and a passenger died, so he’s a killer, but not a murderer. Same thing applies to soldiers or police.

Dodgy stats: assumes a one-to-one relationship (every victim is killed by a different murderer). Hopefully, the cops get most murderers before they kill more than once (anybody got specific stats?), but one Harold Shipman can seriously skew your figures here …

How often do you shake hands? I’ve probably shaken hands with about 30 people - amazingly few.