Out in the north-west of this country, somewhere between Kununurra and Wyndham, there is a swimming hole called The Grotto. I’ve swum in The North before, but always in clear water, and blessed with the advice of locals.  The water was murky the day we were there. So murky.

It reminded me of the the Rockhampton Crocodile Farm. The brown water: so still, no movement, no bubbles then… an explosion of snout, teeth and “pre-hysteria” as a 1-tonne croc propels up on its animal carcass dinner.

That memory returned to me the moment my wife and I swam out across The Grotto. It fixated and swum around in my head. Rationally I knew the place to be safe, but out here in the beating, silent heat, reason held no currency. I fell silent. Then I meekly confessed my fear and we left.

It’s the same with flying. I know I’m safer in a steel tube shooting at 1000 km/hr through the thin air than when I’m out piddling around on my scooter. I know the statistics, the facts. But I have hundreds of movie memories involving plane crashes which pounce on my reasoning and smother it.

Fear make us do stupid things. A Cornell University study estimates that an extra 2,170 people died on US roads after September 11 because they chose to drive rather than fly, and driving is well known to be more dangerous.

Christie Barnes, mother of four and author of The Paranoid Parents Guide, found that the top 5 worries of US parents were:

  1. Kidnapping
  2. School snipers
  3. Terrorists
  4. Dangerous strangers
  5. Drugs

But how do children really get hurt or killed?

  1. Car accidents
  2. Homicide (usually committed by a person who knows the child, not a stranger)
  3. Abuse
  4. Suicide
  5. Drowning

(ref: NPR)

So I guess my thought for the day is, be careful what you read, watch and listen to.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.” and I think this applies to all forms of media.

Keep it real.

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