The prospect of assuming risk is much more enticing than risk itself.
I like to think of my experiences as a milti-colored abstract painting rather than a monochromatic self-portrait. Each color represents a different experience and a unique thought. This is why we take chances--to reap the benefits of the risk. The greater the risk, the brighter the colors. Risk is different to some people. Risk can be having children, accepting new jobs, getting engaged, or buying a new home. I have found that the prospect of risk is easy to rationalize, whereas experiencing risk itself takes a bit longer to swallow.
Last night just when I had fallen asleep I was awaken by six loud gunshots right outside my open window. I rolled off my bed on the ground to take cover. At first I thought I was dreaming. After consulting with my roommates, they confirmed that they were in fact gun shots. In the morning, I woke up to my roommate Rob putting 6 bullet casing on my bed from just outside our house. I guess I need to laugh it off and quit putting a microscope to everything. Some drunk, adolescent Honduran was probably on his scooter shooting his dad's pistol in the air for fun. I just don't want to think of the alternative: that someone was trying to send a message, that someone was trying to scare me, or worse yet that someone was trying to shoot at me.
Of course I find the irony in the fact that the bullets were American. It is a .40 Smith and Wesson bullet originally developed for the FBI. Of course, American bullets and guns are all over the place here. Remnants of the cold war conflicts of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Honduras was used as a base to stage U.S. Military and C.I.A. covert operations to support the dictators who fought against the leftist guerrillas. Of course, there are soviet weapons here too--a collection of AK 47s from the Russians. One of the U.S. policies that get us into trouble--arm them and then curse the fact that they are armed. The guns fueled drug trade in Latin America and the insurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq. The same guns we sold the Afghanis during their Soviet conflict are the same guns that are killing our soldiers today. They are the same guns that are killing innocent civilians, law enforcement agents in Mexico, and U.S. border patrol agents. Our policies are hot and then they are cold.
Governments are like individuals--They assume risk. Their risks are public and they involve the lives of billions of people. Like individuals, they must assume the responsibility of their risks. Governments and individuals do what they think is right for the situation they currently find themselves. You just hope you don't take a risk that you can't pull yourself out of.
As for me, I'm going to keep my bullet casing as a souvenir. Maybe i'll make a key chain or necklace out of it to remind myself that this was all worth it, that my colors are bright and abstract.