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"You can get ransacked from AirBnB" is this year's "You can get fired from blogging"

Did you also know that if you let your kids go on MySpace, they're going to get molested? 

Using Facebook will prevent you from getting a job if you're a college kid, btw.

Also, bedbugs are EVERYWHERE!

It's true.  What you don't know will kill you or your loved ones, and to find out how to stop it, read this blog post, or watch the news tonight at 11. 

I am so sick of fear mongering on behalf of the media.  Let's be clear.  There are a ton of different ways to die, get ripped off, hurt, etc.... but for the most part, statistically, none of this happens to any of us in first world countries. 

Most people are fundamentally good people that treat others with respect.  If that wasn't true, we would live in absolute chaos.  People would just be tossing bricks at other people in the street and looting.  It doesn't happen--at least not usually.  Occasionally, yes, you get the awful story of some idiot chucking things onto a freeway, or a nutball pushing people in front of subway cars, but it's really no reason to stop commuting.  At worst, it should be a reason to stand a little further from the platform or just to look around you every now and then instead of being face down in ReadItLater all the time.

Similarly, if you're going to rent your rooms out on AirBnb, you might follow one recent victims own advice:

"At the end of the day you are renting to a stranger. You should check there ID’s and phone numbers to make sure they match. I would ask for a link to a social networking site like linkedin, FB, or couchsurfing if there are not credible testimonials on AirBnb. I would chat with them on the phone prior to agreeing to rent to them. Had I done these things, the people that ruined my house would have never made it in."

So while the headlines read "METH PIPES EVERYWHERE", the victim is saying something commonsensical: "Check out strangers before you let them into your house."

If you use AirBnB, you're in the hospitality business--and people who have been in the business deal with people wrecking their rooms all the time, as someone reminded me the other day.  They're called "celebrities". 

Heck, this happens all the time in the regular rental industry all the time.  How many people out there know of a tenent from hell story?  Where's the big newsmeme on that?  Oh, that's right?  It's not news when businesses we're all already familar with experience exceptionally negative consequences--only when newfangled scary interwebz businesses harm people does it make headlines. 

It was the same with the blogging stories.  We were told not to blog because of the one-off stories of people who got fired for blogging--not of the folks like me that owe their career to it.  That's less interesting.  The truth is, most people get fired for idiocy, not for blogging.  Blogging is just the channel--so if you're content involves pictures of you with your naked parts falling out of your company uniform or you divulge sensitive company information, don't blame the blog.  Similarly, it's not AirBnB's fault if someone ransacks your house--because you were just as likely to have the same issue if you posted an add for a room rental in the local paper or stuck a sign on your front lawn.  Would you sue the sign making company if the sign led you to renting to a couple of meth addicts? 

Don't think for a second the hotel industry isn't loving this story.  "Don't rent to strangers!  They'll leave meth pipes all over the place!  Let us handle the meth pipes.  Don't disrupt us!" 

I don't have any factual proof of this, but don't you think meth addicts are *less* likely to rent a room on AirBnb than to grab some random Motel 6 somewhere?  Do meth addicts use the internet more or less than non-meth addicts?  I'm willing to bet less.

A friend of mine from the UK said that Americans are obsessed with protecting ourselves from terrorists and pedophile strangers--way disproportionally so relative to the magnitude of the actual problem.  It's true.  Most bad stuff that happens to kids, unfortunately, happens to them at the hands of people they know--family members and such--and the tragdic acts of random terrorist violence or responsible for orders of magnitude less than... well, car accidents, smoking, obeseity, etc.  It doesn't make them any less horrific--but it should signal how we should be proportionally resourcing our prevention efforts. 

But fear sells, so there you have it.  The AirBnB thing will get so much play that if I ever decide to rent my spare room out on AirBnB, I'm sure I'll hear it from my family.  Craigslist, however, hasn't had many "roommate from hell" stories, so no one will have much of an issue if I source a stranger from there.  That's because Craigslist killers only puruse the dating and for sale sections

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