What is “dangerous”?

22 June 2014 One Comment

People ask “Are dogs dangerous?”

On a recent holiday in Italy I came across a peculiar phenomenon that illustrates the answer. All over the town different species were calmly going about their own business, without any interference from humans.

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They differed in their level of dependency on humans for a living. There were some that were sometimes fed by folks, some that were feeding themselves courtesy of people, and some that just seemed to be living alongside humans, fending for themselves.

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And, d’y’know what? They all looked pretty contented. No aggression, no fighting each other, no danger. In fact if I tried to approach any of them, they simply walked away (except the fish).

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Most strange was a creature I’d occasionally come across before in England, but never in such numbers. They were everywhere; in different shapes and sizes, and seemed to occupy many environmental niches. We’d come across them singly, in small family groups and in vast herds (there was no evidence of pack behaviour so I took them to be simple congregations – perhaps for safety from predators).

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They were very approachable – they would even tolerate you petting them.


 

 

It was only when humans became involved that they became very unpredictable. Some were courtesy itself, slowing down as they passed you with plenty of room. But, and I don’t want to worry you unnecessarily, but others were extremely dangerous, riding straight at you, roaring and pipping – you couldn’t cross the road without taking your life in your hands! I’m quite a big bloke and know how to handle a bike, but I have to confess I was quite worried at their antics from time to time.

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We were travelling by bus on a mountain road that was just wide enough for two to pass – but they had to slow right down and pull in their wing-mirrors. On one such occasion the buses were slowing down as they approached from opposite directions and pulling in as far as they could, when from behind the bus coming towards us roared a scooter carrying a man and a woman pillion, with a small child standing in the foot-well. They were heading straight for the front of our bus when another scooter, carrying an old man with no crash-helmet and a large woolly dog in the foot-well, ears flapping, zoomed level with them. He was trying to overtake the bus and three-up scooter heading straight for our oncoming bus!

Just when we thought disaster was inevitable, a third scooter, carrying an elderly lady with a sack of potatoes in the foot-well, a carrier bag of oranges on one handlebar and a huge melon in a string bag on the other, overtook our bus, heading for the other bus, two scooters and ever-narrowing gap. Danger! Danger! Danger!

As the buses closed to about ten feet, the two oncoming scooters shot parallel through the gap and the little old lady zipped between the two of them. Not one of them looked concerned. But I’m still having palpitations.

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So, what to make of these strange and exotic creatures? Are scooters dangerous?

 

 

 

Well, here we see them basking in the sunshine together and relaxing in the shade.

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So, no, Scooters are not really dangerous, it’s just how some are handled by humans.

 

 

Which brings us back to dogs.

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Are dogs dangerous? Well, no, not necessarily, it’s just how some are handled by humans.

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One Comment »

  • Gillian Ramsay said:

    excellent! My first read of the day, set me int he right mood. Human interference, don’t get me started….

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