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THINNING THE HERD

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 22, 2012

– Are accidents truly accidental or a matter of “natural selection”?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently ran into an old friend who began his career as a paramedic and over time evolved into a manager of a city ambulance unit. We hadn’t seen each other in a long time so we sat down at a local watering hole to catch up on our lives. I’ve always found the work of paramedics and firefighters fascinating. It is more than just tending to a fire or simple accident. Actually, they see some rather bizarre accidents which they have to address. So do doctors working in hospital emergency rooms. I have heard some rather strange stories that would curl your hair. Some are hillarious sexual situations, others are gruesome accidents caused by the lack of simple common sense.

My friend referred to such accidents as “thinning the herd” whereby it seems certain people are preordained to face catastrophe. Keep in mind, my friend has over twenty years experience witnessing such accidents and has probably seen it all. Obviously the expression was an analogy to animal management whereby weaker animals are cut from a herd, either by accident or deliberately, so the stronger ones can survive and the herd can prosper.

I asked my friend to give me some typical “thinning the herd” scenarios and he enumerated quite a few accidents involving alcohol and drug abuse. This included habitual users as well as recreational users who went too far and accidentally killed themselves. They either overdosed, hit a telephone pole, or fell into water thereby drowning and causing emergency personnel to fish their bodies out.

He has also seen many motorcycle accidents, some involving older drivers, but most involving younger riders riding on “crotch rockets” weaving through traffic at warp speed. Such people may feel invincible, and often wear helmets, but such head gear is ineffective at high speeds where the body splits in two on impact. Sometimes, motorcycle and automobile accidents are so massive, it is difficult to identify the remains. Some are even scraped up with shovels. In most cases though, people could have survived if they just used a little common sense when they drove.

He claimed most of the “thinning” accidents lately have been those where people are trying to text and drive at the same time. He had no pity for these people as they shouldn’t have been trying to do both. Driving while talking on cell phones is bad enough, but texting and driving is worse. This phenomenon scares him as it is becoming more and more pervasive.

The most heartbreaking accidents he sees are those involving children who are either killed or severely injured due to some stupid accident caused by a parent, such as accidental gun shots, knife wounds, drownings, attacks by dangerous pets, such as snakes and other reptiles, and accidental burns in the kitchen. All of this because of unthinking parents.

When I accused him of becoming heartlessly callous by such accidents, he explained that after you start witnessing the same type of accidents over and over again, it is natural to become jaded. In fact, he preferred to be a little callous in order to properly cope with the accident. If he were to become too emotional, he would have trouble treating the victims.

Ever since he told me this, I’ve looked at accidents in a new light. Most of the local accidents I hear on television or read in the news can be classified as “thinning the herd.” It’s hard to be compassionate when people do not use their heads properly. The only real tragedy to this phenomenon is when innocent people are taken down with the “thinning” victim by accident. They are the real casualties here. Next time you happen to witness an accident, ask yourself if it truly is an accident or is it an act of “natural selection.” It’s hard to feel sympathy for someone who was the cause of their own demise.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
GETTING NASTY – Do nice guys always finish last? Well, ah…

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14 Responses to “THINNING THE HERD”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A B.S. of Los Angeles, California wrote…

    “Yes, I agree with this.As aweful as it sounds sometimes the herd needs to thinned.”

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    An A.M. of Switzerland wrote…

    “I am sure you already heard about the Darwin Awards, just in case here’s the link:”

    http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    A D.T. of North Carolina wrote…

    Mistakes Demotivator
    http://www.despair.com/mis24x30prin.html

    “It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.”

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A J.M. of Chicago, Illinois wrote…

    “The 4 most often heard words right before an “accident” – ‘Hey guys, watch this.’

    I have no sympathy for the lost hikers in Iran, the 60+ year old mountain climber, the canoeer who insists on shooting the rapids and all the other I Think I Can’s.

    I would hope their insurance rates would skyrocket after such an event, should they survive it. And I certainly hope they get billed by the rescuing agency that has to find and transport these poor unfortunates who are merely victims of circumstance and never thought what the backup plan would be if they got into trouble. Reminds me of the old Pete Smith Specialty short films of the 40’s that chronicled some slob that gets into trouble. Remember those?”

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    A B.B. of Land O’Lakes, Florida wrote…

    “Seemingly, nature does have a way of taking care of things. And I guess this includes those of us in the human sector. Good article.”

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    A C.H. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “I’m driving 700-800 miles per week and I can’t count all the bad accidents I come upon on a regular basis. Had I arrived at the scene a minute or two sooner it could have been me. It is definitely SCARY on the road. I hardly ever turn on the radio anymore to make myself more attentive to what’s going on around me. Accidents happen in a split-second; ANY slight distraction while driving could be disastrous.”

    Like

  7. Tim Bryce said

    A J.D. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “I will admit, or perhaps confess, that when I see people misbehaving while driving (all referenced cases – texting, drunk, crotch rocket antics) or just acting like a jerk, I almost hope they crash. Then I feel guilty because if the crash involves innocents, in their vehicle or another, or damage of property, then conscience and karma will tell me that’s what I wished for.

    However…. we all make mistakes, we all lose our heads from time to time. I just hope I don’t end up thinning myself from the herd. LOL”

    Like

  8. Tim Bryce said

    A K.E. of Sacramento, California wrote…

    “When the accidents could have been prevented it truly is “thinning the herd.” I agree…”

    Like

  9. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    “When we were in a head-on crash last year, emergency room testing revealed the existence of both a cerebral aneurysm and a brain tumor in my head. Rather than cutting me out of the herd, the accident gave me a chance to live longer. Both problems have now been corrected. I guess either God still has work for me to do here or is giving me time to clean up my act before thinning me.

    I, too, have no patience with those who choose to drive distracted or drunk. My father was nearly killed by a driver who was using a cell phone. To me, that woman made a decision that her call was more important than life – hers and anyone else’s. That is just wrong. “

    Like

  10. Tim Bryce said

    A J.D. of Columbus, Ohio wrote…

    “Professionals in the medical field, including paramedics, firefighters, and policemen have to keep an objective distance from these victims in order to properly do their jobs. Part of the reason these same people are usually not permitted to be involved when they happen upon such accidents and family members are involved.

    Great post. “

    Like

  11. Tim Bryce said

    A J.P. of Toronto, Ontario wrote…

    “Global population keeps ever expanding. Biologically, we are a cancerous species on the planet, largely immune to most natural predators almost all the time, scientifically and technologically able to fend off the plagues, pandemics and other biological controls nature often uses to “thin the herd,” especially the young, thus eliminating their otherwise nearly certain offspring.

    But nature seems to have put deeply into human psychology one “thin the herd” instinct or compulsion we have not, as a species, yet overcome-war. Think of the populations of Europe, today, if WWI and WWII, and the Holocaust, had never happened. In doing so, recall the Soviet Union, alone, lost somewhere between 19 and 22 million, military and civilian. Think of the population of Japan, even the USA, if WWII had never happened. The American Civil War killed or seriously injured for life over 600,000, out of a population at the time of about 60,000,000, most of them young men of prime breeding age. Think of the population of the USA, today, if the Civil War had never happened.

    Now, I suggest to you that is “thinning the heard ” indeed.”

    Like

  12. Tim Bryce said

    A C.L. of Eatontown, New Jersey wrote…

    “Just FYI… if you haven’t been hearing from folks with Comcast email addresses for a while… your emails have been going into the spam folder, consistently. Not sure why Comcast is dissing you… maybe it’s because you make too much sense” 🙂

    Like

  13. Tim Bryce said

    A B.B. of Florida wrote…

    “Seemingly, nature does have a way of taking care of things. And I guess this includes those of us in the human sector. Good article”

    Like

  14. Tim Bryce said

    A K.S. of Oklahoma wrote…

    “Tim, your friend has an interesting perspective. The more I thought about it, the more I had to agree. The lack of using Common Sense would be or could be the cause to many accidents. This then, makes them NOT accidents but results of inappropriate decisions made by the lack of common sense.

    I guess commom sense is not that common. Maybe we need to have UNCOMMON sense.”

    Like

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