We fear what we don’t understand

Some years back a man on television play with wild reptiles in their natural wild habitat and even though I was skeptic about his methods and the fact he endangered his life, I found it cringe worthily entertaining and Educative regardless. The name of this man was Steve Irwin. Steve was a native of Australia.

The fact that the late Animal lover Irwin was able achieve dangerous and extremely calculative maneuvers, made me nevertheless confident to confront my own fear of man’s best friend, and domestic pet ‘the dog’. I have always had a fear for dogs even though I found them adorable and always wanted to own one myself.

Which brings us to the leading question “are we afraid of something simply because we cannot understand it? Or is it simply an excuse for avoidance? or better still is there a medical explanation as to why the brain is wired this way. Could psychology provide a key to unlocking this mystery. Does fear have any co-relation with why people commit hate crimes?

Let us re-visit the illustration about the fear of dog I mentioned earlier, although my fear of the dog was innate it had no traces of underlying hatred neither would I ever think of causing any harm to one that poses no threat to me, however I couldn’t help thinking if the situation were different if there were to be the presence of a perceived threat from the dog would I react differently?.

Do people who commit hate crimes have a ‘preconceived’ perception of danger and if so how long does this pre-perceived sense of threat last? Is there a stage or times when this threat becomes heightened? Returning to our illustration about the Dog, I once found myself frozen to a spot and incapable of moving a muscle due to fear, during a non-leisure work along a narrow canal path popular with Dog-walkers in the summer, a Dog that had been let off it’s lease suddenly sprang a surprise on me.

Whenever I read  or heard stories of Police in America shooting unarmed civilian with persons of black skin complexion being on top of the list of victims I couldn’t help wondering what the level of threat the law enforcement officer might have perceived and if it could have become heightened upon finding out the skin complexion of the other party and whether or not the exchange of words is or may be a contributory factor.