Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Everyone's false sense of security...

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

- Helen Keller
It's words such as this that begin the thought process about things that I've done in the past that were deemed 'unsafe' by family and friends.  Mostly my solo wanderings and winter camping.  Instances where someone was informed ahead of time about my anticipated general location... and that's it.  There were no promises that I'd be in the exact place I hoped to be... not because I didn't want to, but because I probably had to alter my agenda.

It's the naysayers that said...

"What if you run into some crazy person that wants to attack you?"
"What if a (insert wild animal of choice here) attacks you?"
"What if you hurt yourself and can't get back?"
"What if you get lost?"

Like in everyday life in our beloved civilized society, you make accommodations when you take trips out into the wilderness.  You have a game plan for many different scenarios.  Can you plan for everything?  No.  But you work to be as well-informed and as well-prepared as you can.

Then you take the leap of faith and just do it.

You know, we can apply the same general statements to our trek out to the local grocery store or to grandma's house...

"What if someone tries to mug you and steal your purse/wallet?"
"What if your credit/debit card won't work because of identity theft?"
"What if you get into a car accident along the way?"
"What if your car has a mechanical issue?"

It's the same false sense of security that you have if you don't know enough about your surroundings, and if you don't have some semblance of a plan ahead of time.  It happens even in society.  Often times, it happens more.

Here's a little food for thought:

Compare the number of incidents of attacks on hikers/campers (by person or animal) vs. the number of attacks (murders/robberies/etc.) you hear about on a daily basis in the communities where you live and work.

How many people fail to carry a simple first aid kit and/or fire extinguisher in their vehicle... and if they do, how many of those people would know how to use these things if they needed to?

Think of the people that are so reliant on their GPS systems in their vehicles.  If they are unable to get a signal, how many of the GPS disciples would be able to fall back to simple map reading?  How many of them would even carry paper maps?  How many of them would be able to distinguish what direction they face without the aid of some electronic device?

It's things like this that make me chuckle at people who try to convince me that solo wilderness travel is such a bad idea.  They don't understand that I'm likely more prepared to go out into nature than they are to go out into the streets. 

Does this give me a sense of security?  Not really.  If it did, I'd let my guard down... and we all know that's when bad things happen.