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The Psychology of Problem Avoidance

There is an old story my husband likes to bring up about when we lived in Riverdale, NY many years ago.

I was walking home from work and saw a bunch of kids on the street fighting.

For some reason I can't recall, I actually went up to the kids in the hopes of breaking up the fight. My memory of the events is too hazy to remember specifics. But I remember telling my husband about it and he said, "Are you crazy?!!! Stay away from trouble!!! Are you looking to get beaten up?!!!"

If you aren't familiar with Riverdale, it's a city in the Bronx where there are some good neighborhoods and some bad neighborhoods and even the kids can be scary dudes. We're talking individuals and gangs, whether they're formally known as gangs or not, and you really don't want to be messing with trouble voluntarily.

It came up in my mind because why do I get involved in things that aren't my problem? Why was I so vehement about the election, for example? Why am I so obsessed with promoting awareness about sex trafficking, in the hopes that I can help stop it?

Don't I know that there is a kill list?

Don't I realize how many have been destroyed because they got involved, and tried to do the right thing?

All I can say is that I understand, logically, why it makes sense to focus on self-preservation.

I understand that there is enough trouble in the world, without seemingly going to look for it.

I understand that the people who are really bad, are not like the average person and really will not stop unless and until they get what they want and then some

I understand that there is an inner survival mechanism that operates in a human being. It's like we avoid people who are touched by tragedy because we are afraid the tragedy is somehow contagious.

We do not want to be infected by tragedy.

I pray that G-d should guide everyone who tries to fight injustice the right way, to do the right thing at the right time, and provide the necessary protections. We alone are powerless.

For usually it seems that the evil ones are unstoppable. They are not.

I beg and implore the One Above to help us fight back and end their terrible reign, wherever and whenever it manifests itself.

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All opinions my own.

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All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.