Why do we still walk out that door?
I snapped this photo way back when I took my son on our third annual father-son trip together, at the 'Serpentarium' in Wilmington, NC. This reticulated python is quite capable of squeezing a man to death, and these animals are just one of many in the world that can kill you. Most people; family and friends that know me, know I always had a fascination with wild and dangerous animals. I wanted to use some statistics about dangerous animals from around the world to put some of today's fear and panic from the dreaded Corona Virus in perspective. And I wanted to just cause a few people out there to think.
Did you know that Australia had anywhere from the top five, to the top ten most venomous snakes on the planet? Globally, approximately 2 million or more people are bitten by venomous snakes per year, with approximately 125,000 fatalities, and 3 to 4 permanently disabled individuals - all caused by venomous snakebites every year, according to the World Health Organization, wikipedia, and a variety of sources. And yet, in Australia, with the most deadly serpents on the planet, only 1 to 2 deaths are happening per year. Shocker, right? I mean, I know a few people who would tell you they never want to go to Australia, because everything can kill you down there. But the numbers just don't tell that story. One reason is because the people are more spread out from each other on the continent. Although they do have a few big cities, they just don't have the population density of a place infested with cobras and vipers, like say, India. But if you visit South Asia? Some experts estimate about 81,000 venomous bites in India per year, with more than 10,000 dying annually in India. Whoa - big difference! And yet, tourism is a booming industry in both Australia and India. But how do those people ever walk out their doors?
Here's an exciting animal to talk about. One of my childhood heroes, Steve Irwin, talked about them all the time... the Saltwater Crocodile. Believe it or not, a surprising number of people survive attacks by these powerful monsters every year. Inside Australia, reporting is more accurate, and only averages between 1 and 2 fatal attacks every year. But underdeveloped countries do not have as accurate of a reporting system for such incidents, so estimates are much higher for the number of attacks because of the higher populations of some of the smaller South Asian nations. But estimates still only put the number of annual deaths well below the thousands purported by popular TV shows. According to one article from 2017, the Solomon Islands alone lost 10 people (either death or serious injury) in one year to saltwater crocs.(https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/25/saltwater-crocodile-attacks-solomon-islands)
Of course, I found this last line of the article interesting, and can see how it could apply to our current virus epidemic: “I absolutely sympathize and agree we need to ensure people’s safety, but I often think the best way is to educate people about how to be croc-wise.”
But studies show that another likely deadly croc encounter will be with a Nile Crocodile. There are so many various articles and sites devoted to logging the numbers of these attacks, it becomes very difficult to disseminate who is right. Hmmmm, sounds like another problem I've had with information on a certain virus. But I digress. The bottom line about crocodiles is this: they are fearsome beasts, and one certainly does not want to think they are immune to an attack. And populations of these dangerous animals have grown over recent years thanks to efforts of certain famous wildlife conservationists. But yet somehow, some way, Australians, and Africans, and Indians, and South Americans, are all finding the courage to walk out their front door, every single day.
Oh, here's a good one. And I bet this would be what we could call the unsung villain of the animal kingdom. But let's talk about... the mosquito!
Are you sitting down? Be careful; prepare your Off! Bug spray. Because according to the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/vector_ecology/mosquito-borne-diseases/en/) mosquitoes contribute approximately one million deaths - PER YEAR!
Yes, you read that right. And the WHO site was NOT the only site where I found that little tidbit.
But wait, mosquitoes exist in virtually any city on the planet that isn't in an arctic or sub-arctic region. How do we ever find the courage to step outside our doors into the crazy, dangerous world? Most scholars agree, when it comes to delivering death, the mosquito is the deadliest animal on the planet. It kills more people than sharks, crocodiles, venomous snakes, box jelly fish, and spiders, combined. And these little boogers, are just about everywhere that has a season other than winter.
And yet, I've made it 43 years and counting, miraculously finding the courage to walk out my front door and face the day, every day. I am one of several billion. So how can we do it? Why, do we do it? I didn't write this to answer this question for anyone in particular in regard to motivation; I cannot answer that for anyone but myself. That all comes back to purpose. I did write this to stir someone, somewhere out there to look inward at their own personal motivation. I can and will gladly tell anyone my own motivation; my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But that doesn't necessarily have to be yours, depending on your belief system.
BUT, I can perhaps answer the question in regard to where someone places their focus.
If I lived in Australia, and focused on all the dangerous creatures that could kill me, perhaps that would affect my own motivation to go out the door. What if someone influenced that focus? What if every Australian turned on their news stations and all those reporters ever did was report crocodile or venomous snake attacks? What if any country, anywhere, picked one particular deadly threat, and filled our homes and our TV's, and our radio stations, and our social media, and our internet, with scary information about any single one of these deadly things, all the time? Oh, wait - that is exactly what is happening now!
What if I told you that you could walk out your door today, go down the street and order a calzone, eat it, and then hours later while supposedly digesting your food - an artery in exactly the wrong spot in your body causes your heart to stop, and nobody is around when it happens? Oh, wait - that could happen.
What if I told you that you could get in your car to go home today, and while driving home, despite the fact that you followed the traffic laws, some crazed maniac didn't, and crashed head on into you from the opposite direction, but was going too fast towards you for you to react, until it was too late? Oh, wait - that could happen.
What if I told you that you could walk into QT and want to order a snack and pay for gas, and some armed robber could walk in off the street, shoot you and the cashier, and walk out the door before anyone stopped them? Oh, wait - that could happen.
Do you see where I am going with this? It is all about where your focus is. If you focus on the 'what-ifs,' then you will be more frightened. Fear is an excellent motivator - to NOT do something.
Whatever you do, if you want to ever walk out your door, you find something to motivate you to do it. FOCUS on what that motivating factor is... not fear.
Maybe you've already figured that out. Maybe you've still somehow made yourself go out and face that day outside your front door. If so, kudos. But remember, not everyone will read words that even suggest this. Remember, some people are drawn to live in fear, because of what they allow to influence their decisions. Some people want to feel safe and secure because they want someone else to take care of them. I understand the illusion of comfort that might create. But that's just it; it's an illusion. If you allow someone else to keep you safe, who's to say they have the same motivations for your safety?
Just some food for thought in this panic-stricken world. God bless you all, especially if you made it out that front door today...again.