I ever said that skydiving was over dangerous, but I still disagree with your statistics.
Well, the implication I took from the way you worded it was, "this guy chooses to do this inherently dangerous activity, so we can assume he brought the same attitude of disregard to danger to every aspect of his life." I meant to point out that skydiving isn't as risky as most people assume, and therefore some very cautious people participate in the activity. I count myself in that group, I am in no way an adrenaline junkie. If that's not what you meant by it, I apologize for the misunderstanding.
All of those dives were either done by seasoned professionals, or in the company of them, and I would bet that most were done simply by the professionals themselves.
Well, I would agree most jumps were performed by seasoned divers, but it's very far from all, even when you exclude the tandem dives which I assume is what you mean when you say "in the company of [seasoned professionals]". You've got to start somewhere. I described myself as a n00b licensed diver for a reason. I have 50 jumps under my belt, and I'm very far from a pro. My landings need a lot of work, both in terms of accuracy and ability to land softly. I've never been in an emergency situation, so I don't have the experience that would allow me to handle one as quickly and smoothly as the seasoned guys. When I encounter my first malfunction, I'll have to rely on the training that I've received on the ground, and hope I execute emergency procedures promptly and correctly. I'm having difficulties maintaining the same fall rate as other people in my diving group, and tend to sink in relation to them the moment I start performing maneuvers (which can increase risk of a collision if they lose track of my location, or I lose track of theirs). There are lots of little things I'm not particularly proficient at, and therefore I stay away from diving with large groups and really doing anything I believe is currently outside my skill level.
In fact, there's really no other way to learn how to skydive other than skydiving. Tandems are fun, but if you want to get licensed you go through ground training, then you get on a plane, and you jump with your own parachute. There are different training methods, but they all involve you landing your own parachute. Under static line, you get out of the plane by yourself, attached to a line that will automatically deploy your main. Then you land the chute by yourself with radio instructions. Under AFF, you get freefall time together with other instructors who are holding on to you, but not attached to you in any way. Once you open up, you're on your own, landing with radio assistance. There's also a chance you'll find yourself separated from your instructors and will have to deploy without them, and you're trained for that possibility. You'll also be trained for the possibility the radio doesn't work.
Even with all of that inexperience, student deaths make for a very small proportion of those ~20 deaths a year. Most deaths are actually from people with thousands of jumps, because they're jumping highly loaded, high-performance parachutes, performing higher risk maneuvers such as swoop landings. If we're going back to the driving analogy, it's like saying that your race car drivers are under more risk driving at a race than the average driver is driving to work. The race car driver is much more experienced, and more highly proficient at driving, but he's also doing more dangerous things and taking additional risks.
Most drivers are horrible at driving, and most crashes involve really bad drivers.
I'm not sure why you would assume there isn't a similar spectrum of people skydiving. There are some people who skip on gear checks before they go out to dive, others that rush through putting their gear on and get inside the plane before they're finished strapping up. There are tons of people who downsize to smaller parachutes before they have accumulated enough experience to fly them safely. The one death I'm aware of at my dropzone involved a relatively inexperienced guy (a few hundred jumps) that, during a canopy skills course, decided he would impress his instructor by swooping and ended up misjudging his altitude at the beginning and smacking straight into the ground at high speed. He was under a perfectly good canopy, but just decided to do something stupid, which he clearly wasn't ready to.
I would argue that Skydiving is likely orders of magnitude more dangerous than the statistics show, as the statistics are biased based on who actually goes skydiving.
I would argue that the statistics are inflated due to deaths from people doing stupid things, as in the examples I've mentioned above, and that skydiving is actually safer than the stats imply.