The Uzi Syndrome
I am talking about those people who continue to tempt fate and court tragedy by refusing to get out of the way of the Mount Mayon lava flow. Elsewhere, the mention of lava flow should be enough to send people scampering away. But we are in the Philippines, so instead of seeing people scared witless, we see grinning people doing cartwheels and patintero a mere two feet away from the smoldering lava flow.
Those uzis (usisero, kibitzers) have made it a pastime to show off just how unconcerned they are of the imminent danger. Some local residents continue to marvel at the natural phenomenon up close. Others have even become instant tour guides to foreigners and non-residents who also want to see lava flow up close and personal. Someone was even shown on television lighting his cigarette with a piece of volcanic rock. I half expect to see someone broiling lunch over the lava flow one of these days.
In the meantime, the local mayor has been shown in various state of exasperation urging people to keep away from the 7 km danger zone, obviously to no avail.
This is not an isolated incident. This has been repeated many times - shootouts, lahar flow, typhoon, car accidents, etc. It could be funny, except that lives are at stake and laughing at the sheer folly and stupidity of it all borders on insensitivity, even cruelty.
But why do we do it? What is it about us as a people that makes us do these things?