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Be careful out there [Editorial]

There's a joke where one guy says most accidents happen in your home and a second guy says maybe he should move.

It's about as old of a joke as there is, but it highlights a certain reality about the way most of us think of dangerous situations. Generally, at least in most of our minds, danger is far off and exotic. We all like to think of home as being a safe place and, by extension, things that are close to home as being similarly safe.

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But there's that nagging observation from the joke, generally known to have at least a kernel of truth to it: most accidents happen in the home. Extend the statement to include things close to home, and the statement remains true, and all the more unnerving.

Things that are close to home and familiar, unfortunately, can seem a lot safer than they are, and the King and Queen Seat in Rocks State Park is a particularly unpleasant example.

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It's a wonderful attraction, a place on par with any number of natural wonders around Maryland and across the U.S. It's no Monument Valley or El Capitan, but it is at least a minor wonder of the natural world.

It also shares something with El Capitan, the iconic rock outcropping that helps define Yosemite National Park. Both attract climbers.

In the case of the King and Queen Seat, many climbers are well-versed in the sport, but some people try it on a whim, sometimes with very unpleasant consequences. The site itself features vertical drops of 20 to 30 feet onto boulders, so falling is kind of like falling off a two-story house onto rocks.

It's close to home and it has the look of a miniature version of some of the attractions of the American West, but the King and Queen Seat can be just as dangerous, as was proven again recently when someone climbing it fell and was seriously hurt.

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It's but one example. The Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay are hardly the stormy North Atlantic, but they are major waterways that deserve respect – even though they're close to home and many of us have grown up fearlessly playing on and around them.

For that matter, a lawn mower is a dangerous piece of equipment and traffic accidents are notoriously commonplace.

Danger, it turns out, is all around. It is overcome, of course, not by moving, but by having the appropriate level of respect for the situation at hand. Most of us do so without giving it much thought, but in the summertime, when there's fun to be had, sometimes there's a temptation to be less cautious. It's not a temptation worth giving into.

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