People could hurt you anywhere, anytime

businessman nervously facing an obstacle challenge
businessman nervously facing an obstacle challenge

Don’t let fear stop you from new experiences

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor

I recently took a long Greyhound bus trip. Many people made the same tasteless joke: “Don’t get your head cut off!” in reference to the beheading incident that happened on a Greyhound bus in Winnipeg almost 10 years ago.

In addition to being unoriginal and not really funny (I mean, a man was murdered) the joke ignores one critical factor. It was not being on a bus that killed Tim McLean. He was murdered as the result of a severe psychotic schizophrenic breakdown from his attacker; they just both happened to be on a bus at the time.

Tim could’ve been attacked on a TransLink bus, in a Starbucks, or on a street in broad daylight. If someone is going to hurt a stranger as a result of mental illness or simply due to sheer homicidal rage, they are apt to do it anywhere. There are very few ways to protect ourselves from this sort of thing; all we can hope is that it won’t happen to us.

Of course, it’s very likely not going to happen. The risk of being assaulted by a stranger is far less than that of being attacked by someone we know. These risks can increase based on factors such as gender, race, and location. Nevertheless, the probability of being attacked on a day-to-day basis is still extremely low.

We run the risk of being harmed or killed every day. We could get hit by a truck, have a heart attack or aneurysm, or fall off a building. Being careful, responsible, and alert reduces these risks, but freak accidents do still occur. People who are murdered obviously do not expect that to be a part of their day when they wake up in the morning, and there’s little we can do to detect these horrific acts before they occur. Most terrorist attacks are unpredictable and target victims at random. Many murderers do not spend a lot of time pre-meditating the act.

Ultimately, fear of an accident should not deter you from living your life or taking risks. As long as you use common sense and don’t go around doing truly unsafe things, you probably won’t be killed. And if you do in a random attack, well, it probably couldn’t have been prevented anyway. So that’s a little comforting, at least.