At What Point Shall We Expect the Approach of Danger?

November 2, 2009

While I’m certainly not a big fan of being overly cautious, paranoid, nor do I envision conspiracy theories lurking around every corner, I do believe it is wise to not take anything for granted. Lest we assume all is secure as we navigate life, we should remain aware of what is going on around us…and within us.

Most people are readily alarmed and jarred into awareness when some major catastrophe suddenly touches their lives, particularly when it results in some significant, less than desirable change (an accident resulting in some permanent damage, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, the assassination of the President of the US, etc.); however, we are often less likely to be aware of the impact of insidious, gradual changes that may be going on within or around us.

The Metaphor of the Boiling Frog comes to mind as I write these words:

The story is often told that “if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately react and do everything possible to hop out as it senses the danger of the scalding liquid,” but “if a frog is placed into a pot of tepid water that is only gradually heated over time, it will fall into a complacent stupor, not perceive the increasing temperature and eventually boil to death.”

People and nations often do not diligently pay attention to, nor perceive the potential dangers that their own weaknesses, transgressions and compromises which, left unchecked, may yield gradually over time.

As individuals, we may find ourselves in a perilous or vulnerable situation not because of one isolated mistake, but rather, from a series of gradual departures from what is best. Smoking one cigarette won’t instantly kill you (unless the room you are smoking in happens to be filled with intense gasoline fumes); but over time, smoking is detrimental to health. Compromising in one relatively small area of principle may initially appear innocuous; indulged over time, it may  gain a foothold that imperceptibly alters the fabric of our character, leading to a “fall from grace”– or worse.

Similarly, as we consider the dangers inherent in today’s world of conflict, pandemics, disasters and strife, we should not place our heads in the proverbial sand; nor should we ignore possible inappropriate,  incremental changes that may be occurring within ourselves, and approaching from within our own borders.

A former US President had expressed some ideas on this topic:

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth … in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. – Abraham Lincoln

What are your thoughts, reader?

Warm regards,



John A. Fallone
President & CEO
Office:  1-203-274-6098
Mobile: 1-203-536-1093


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