Observations on Animal Instinct

Despite its many bungling attempts to protect us (e.g.,  the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends an absolutely natural response if one confronts an active shooter or other such attack on one’s person (i.e., danger). DHS recommends, in order, the following responses: 1) run, 2) hide, 3) fight.

Now, consider the behavior of ‘wild animals’ when confronted with the dangers posed by the presence of humans. Yes, their reactions mimic those recommended by the DHS. The first reaction animals have to humans (which they clearly recognize as presenting danger, indicating animals often have more on the ball than do people) is to run. If they are unable to escape the human (or, for that matter, other predators), they try to hide. And if their attempts to make themselves invisible to their aggressors fail, they turn on them and fight, hard, with every tool available to them.

In most animals with whom we share this earth, these are instinctual behaviors. Yet it seems we must be taught them. Or, is it that those responses to perceived threats have been educated out of us? Are we, instead, being taught to recover what is natural in us?

It seems to me ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws are based on an unnatural premise; that we should not react naturally to danger by running away from it. Rather, these laws and other forms of socialization teach us we should overcome, dismiss, and ignore the first two natural responses to danger by accelerating our response to the third, and final, way of dealing with danger. These laws, and the people who promulgate and support them, seem to embrace a concept that relegates natural fear responses to behaviors reserved for the weak and impotent.

These thoughts of mine are just observations on animal instinct; my assessments of what I observe, attached to opinions I formed (I am quite sure) through bias. I’m in favor of knowing the realities of what I think. That’s why I am firmly in favor of the scientific method of finding answers or, in the case of my opinions and odd laws, verifying or correcting answers others have given.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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