Small Talk

Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in US

January 27th, 2014

The life of a reporter often means you run to the scene of danger as every other sane person is running away from it. The first time I did this, I was a cub reporter in New Mexico, going to a fire where there were gas tanks nearby.

Police blocked off the road a half mile out, and I flashed my press pass and asked to get closer. They let me drive up to where the police cars were, some 30 feet away.

Then I got out and started gathering my information and images for the story. One of the firemen mentioned that if the tanks blow, we're definitely in the blast radius.

I remember thinking to myself, "Am I nuts?" It definitely gave me pause. Then I kept working. Now and again at every successive incident (fires, explosions, shoot outs, bomb threats, communicable disease, radioactivity, terrorism, risk of attack or robbery, heat exhaustion - I think I listed it all) during my 16 year news stint, I would think of this first realization.

Which is why, when I went to work for a luxury hotel, I thought, "Phew! What could go wrong here amid thousand dollar dinners and mega-suites of the rich and famous?"

Then there were two successive tsunami threats in my first two years, and as a manager, I was required to go to work to help fulfill crisis procedures. Every other person is driving out of the flood zone for safety, and I am fighting traffic and vigilant cops to insist to be let in to the red zone. Smart, Ako, smart.

I do realize there are way more dangerous jobs the world, but those are my little brushes with professional peril. has created a list of some of the most perilous blue collar jobs, and how, despite improvement in safety provisions, these occupations still put people’s lives at risk. Maybe you think fishing is the most dangerous, due to the popularity of that fishing show, Deadliest Catch? It's actually logging.

You can check it out here:

Do you perform this kind of work and do you agree it's among the most deadly? What else should be on the list that isn't?

One Response to “Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in US”

  1. Ken Conklin:

    I don't run into fires which might explode, or zones where a tsunami threatens to inundate. But metaphorically, those are things I do with a highly controversial website that causes some people's emotions to explode; and with my political activism on civil rights issues where I'm like Hans Brinker with my finger in a dike holding back a raging sea. It's not the elements of nature that threaten me, it's actual human beings who send me death threats. Most of them are anonymous -- people with fake names sending incoherent hate-filled e-mails. But occasionally it's someone too dumb or crazy to hide his name, or so aggressively zealous that he's proud to show how macho he is.

    Recently I got an old-fashioned letter in the snail mail, handwritten by a Hawaiian inmate in Saguaro prison in Eloy Arizona. The handwriting itself was as deranged as the content of what he wrote. He had read a column by Rowena Akana in the monthly OHA newspaper, where she named me as an evildoer. I felt comforted that this guy is behind bars, at least for a few more years. And I sent a copy of his letter to the parole board as evidence that he's not yet rehabilitated.

    But I also get friendly messages or phone calls from people who express thanks; and sometimes when I'm at the supermarket or shopping mall someone might stop me, ask whether I'm Ken Conklin, and say thanks. These positive face-to-face encounters are almost always with people who look ethnically Hawaiian and who tell me they are Hawaiian and want me to know that they understand what I'm doing and agree with it. A few positives go a long way toward countering the haters. But in the end it's more important to follow my conscience than to look for validation or cringe in fear.

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