You Knew I Was a Snake

I’m not the only one to pick up on this theme and I found the text of the story I was looking for here:

Here’s what I was looking for:

Once upon a time there was a serpent who was badly injured in a fight with another animal. It managed to slither away to safety but would have surely died if a benevolent man had not seen it suffering by the side of the road. The goodly man carefully wrapped the snake up and took it to his house, where he bestowed the kindest and gentlest care on the snake until it was healed and could return to the wild. Just as the man was releasing the serpent back into the grass, the ungrateful snake turned and bit him on the hand.

“What did you do that for?” cried the man, who knew that the bite of this particular snake was usually fatal. “Didn’t I take care of you when no one else would?”

The snake shrugged (no small feat for a snake!) and replied to the benevolent–and now doomed– man, “What did you expect? You knew I was a snake when you picked me up.”

The thing that made this relevant to me today is that I’ve heard three different stories floating around that all demonstrate this same lesson. First, there’s the broken notion that we ought to be negotiating with Iran over its pursuit of nuclear *whatever.* Out of Los Angeles, there’s a story about a former gang member turned peace activist being shot by a 16 year-old gang member turned murderer. Lastly, a homeless man in Cleveland killed a shelter worker with an ax.

Just to make this clear in case you missed it, the modern liberal/progressive mantra is that opposing government intervention in markets or in private matters that may effect one of their cherished victim groups is a “mindset” and “delusional.” One “news” anchor went so far as to suggest that Sarah Palin was too stupid to be Vice-President because she didn’t believe in global warming. On the other hand, when the subject turns to interacting with dangerous and potentially insane people, it’s somehow completely reasonable to expect that rationality will improve the behavior of the chronically irrational.

Are we blameless in the Middle-East perma-crisis? No. Are Americans doing all they can to keep people in their homes or kids out of gangs? No. Can we understand the irrational and violent enough to alter their behavior through communication and cooperation? Maybe. If time were not a resource and we had infinite capacity to figure out what motivates violence, the liberal philosophy of patient coddling would be the only reasonable answer. Understand, though, that there are people in this world who will kill you for being you and the only thing you can do to stop it is to kill them first. Thankfully, as with the snake, most of the time it’s better just to let it die of its own wounds.


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