As a part-time first responder who is interested in emergency management, disaster recovery, and safety in general, I read pretty much everything related to those topics that I can get my hands on, including a lot of stuff about how people respond in a crisis. It’s fascinating stuff, and some really excellent books have been written about it, such as Amanda Ripley’s The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – And Why.
A side effect of this is that I have started paying attention to what I would call “unusual” deaths and accidents. People keep doing things that I would consider to be pretty damn unsafe, and it costs them. Recent examples are plenty. A man leaves the designated paths at Yellowstone, and falls into a spring that is so high-temperature and acidic that there is literally no body to recover. A young man accidentally shoots himself while taking a selfie with a pistol. A tourist in Australia goes swimming at 10 at night in an area clearly marked with signs warning about crocodiles and gets killed by a crocodile over 14 feet long. Or the guy in Georgia back in March who decided that it would be cool to pack an old lawnmower with 3 pounds of Tannerite and then shoot at it from only 40 feet away. He blew off his own leg, and the whole thing was caught on video.
And I realized that what all of these people had in common was this: a lack of fear. Specifically, a lack of what I would consider to be the healthy kind of fear.