I live in a small community on the edge of the Everglades. Even though I live in a typical suburban subdivision (well, typical for Florida, that is), I have all manner of wildlife pass through my neighborhood. Some of it, like the bunny rabbits and deer, is obviously not a threat. Some of it, such as the alligators and various snakes, looks like a threat, but may or may not be dangerous.
And then there’s the bears. We have a small family of Florida Black Bears who hangs around at the edges of our town, lumbering down our streets and poking their noses into our trash barrels.To be honest, they look cute. Really cute, kinda roly-poly and cuddly, like a rally big teddy bear come to life.
But they’re not. They’re apex predators, and they will take a swipe at ANYTHING that they consider an easy meal. The alligator? That’s an easy predator to spot. They look so fearsome, so primevally repellent that we are instinctively repelled by them. But a bear? A bear is cute, like Yogi is cute, or the bears in the circus are cute.
Bear attacks on people rarely happen, just like alligator attacks on humans rarely happen. One, however, is an obvious threat, while the other we tend to ignore because of how they look. As we learned during the Johnny Depp / Amber Heard trials, however, outward appearance has nothing to do with inward motivation. If you’re making excuses for someone’s bad behavior because they’re “part of of your tribe” or “They’re really a good person deep down inside,” stop it, and stop it now.
The bear doesn’t care about how you look. He only cares about what what you can do for him, no matter how much pain it causes you.