Risks vs. Rewards and Benefits

Risks vs. Rewards and Benefits July 3, 2020

Life is full of risks. We take risks every day when we get in a car or other means of transport. We consider those reasonable and necessary risks to carry out our lives.

Naturally, we try to limit those risks most of the time. However, some people put themselves in harm’s way unnecessarily, but for reasons they consider adequate to justify them. Skydiving and bungee jumping are examples of thrill seeking. Mountain climbing, rock climbing, scuba diving, playing violent sports like football, etc. are examples of risk taking to achieve personal goals, pride in performance and sometimes admiration and respect from others. A lot of ego is involved in all of these things, but many people feel justified in taking these risks to burnish their self-image. For them, the rewards and benefits that they get justify the risk.

Then there are the risks that some people take for no apparent rational reason. Like not wearing a mask or keeping safe distance during a pandemic. Why would anybody do that? What benefit can they realize by putting themselves and others at risk unnecessarily?

In a comment thread here on ATP, a notorious troll that I have had many confrontations with responded to one of my comments advocating masks and distancing by sneering:

“Bert is just old and afraid.”

He went on to say that he never wore a mask and wasn’t afraid of the virus.

There is a difference between caution and cowardice, just as there is a difference between bravery and bravado. But in this case, the troll was parroting the blathering of his hero, Trump, who has refused to wear a face mask, saying “They make you look weak.” What a horrible example for a leader to set for his citizens! I cannot think of another President that we have had in the last fifty years who would have done such a thing.

As for our current leader, and others who swagger around boasting that they are not afraid, and demeaning people who take precautions, I will paraphrase Mark Twain’s comment on such people:

“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

If Trump and his acolytes, like the trolls on our web site, become infected with the virus, I will not be sad.


Browse Our Archives