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The cost of complacency can be steep indeed


Date published: 7/24/2014

I was walking through the park, contemplating the burdens that come with paternal responsibilities, when a seemingly innocuous bee decided to sting my leg.

My first reaction--an expletive that gave cause to scan the horizon for a previously unseen child--led to a quickly growing irritation and a search for the offending insect.

As my lust for revenge grew like the throbbing welt on my leg, I had an epiphany. "Why do I want revenge?"--a clear and simple inquiry to my motives, yet no simple answers came to mind that I could accept as just.

I realized in that brief moment that not only was the bee doing merely what nature has inspired of its species, I had seen him flying around my legs moments before.

Not only was I aware of his presence, I was aware of his nature. Some might be inclined to quote the adage of not poking a badger in his cave at this point, but I had a different perspective.

Like so many people in this age, I was aware of a threat but had chosen to hope that it would pass, leaving me unaffected.

My lack of motivation to be more vigilant, maybe take a second to shoo the bee off or even pick up my pace, kept me from reducing if not removing the risk.

It seems that so many accidents and atrocities today come from a lack of vigilance with what we know to be threats, ranging from texting and driving to the peer pressure toward violence in our youth.

We have a responsibility to be vigilant whether we doubt the efficiency or effects of our actions, as the eventual price of complacency is too great to afford.

Chris Payne

Fredericksburg