Safety right or wrong

Everyone wants to be safe. But it is only in recent years that inhabitants of the United Kingdom have begun to feel that they have a right to be safe – that it is a reasonable expectation.

They are outraged that a fox should be in a child’s bedroom. Not frightened, but outraged. Foxes have no right to be in bedrooms. We live in a country shorn of dangerous wildlife, and that, apparently, is as it should be.

A gunman runs amok for reasons unknown, and we are outraged that the police did not stop him immediately. We have a right to be protected from gunmen, don’t we?

But humans are unpredictable, and can be pushed over the edge. Foxes are not tame. Life is not at all safe, actually.

It has been so sanitised that we think it is, and we think it should be. But why should it? Scientifically speaking, life exists on the edge of things, in precarious circumstances. As humans, we walk an unlikely tightrope.

It is astonishing, when you think about it, that over 30 million drivers on our roads manage to miss each other with astonishing regularity, given the often badly designed pieces of tarmac that they drive on, and the fact that many of them are not really very good at it.

It is surprising that immensely powerful forces of nature have tended to leave us alone most of the time. My generation is fortunate that its civilians have never been involved in war.

But we don’t have any right to our safe and easy way of life, and we may soon find it less safe and more difficult. We have no right to be outraged at that, and it is no good looking for scapegoats. We have to deal with it ourselves.

Good at gullibility

What would be the best possible outcome for the anti-Israel activists who boarded the recent Gaza-bound flotilla?

Surely that the Israelis would over-react and commit some act of violence against them that could be spun through the world’s media and used as more propaganda against Israel.

And that is exactly what happened.

Killing people is not good, even in the face of severe provocation, but it strikes me that you have to be particularly gullible to see the flotilla as peaceful victims.

Of course, gullibility is something that certain sections of the media are particularly good at.