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Photograph 5: Predator

Predator.  Noun.  [pred-uh-ter]  1. Zoology. any organism that exists by preying upon other organisms.  2. a predatory person.

Several things flash through my mind when I see this picture.  I don’t see a cat or a jungle or pretty leaves.  I see the beast beneath the surface disguised as an animal.  I see the raw, animalistic, predatory nature that lies within humans to “extract a pound of flesh” from another much like an animal preys on another for survival.  The difference is, the animal does it to survive.  The human does it to conquer the weak.

Human predators can mean many things.  It can be a child molester.  It can be a man that takes advantage of women.  It can be a power-hungry woman that manipulates others to boost her self worth.  No matter the form, one thing is consistent: a predator will use appalling means to hurt another.  A conscience almost seems non-existent in certain individuals, which makes me wonder if their actions were taken against their child, for example, would they reconsider?  Sure, predators can apologize and they can forgive.  They can lie and mask themselves as productive members of society.  An upstanding citizen.  A regular at church every week.  A donator to a charity.  There are many ways a predator can appear to be exactly the opposite.  Being able to see the beast within is not easy for most people.  I’ve encountered many in my lifetime and still find new ones regularly.  For the pain and suffering that has been prevented, I am thankful for having the ability to read people so well. 

Not all predators are of a serious nature but can be harmful in other ways.  I recall working with a woman years ago who would regularly attend church three times a week, donate to charitable causes, and talk lovingly about her children.  As soon as it came to interaction with other people or anyone that challenged her, she became one of the nastiest and ruthless people I have ever encountered.  But she was easily identifiable.  Others lurk, observe, watch, and wait until the moment is perfect to strike.  These are the skillful ones, much like the animal in the picture. 

In some ways I have predator tendencies.  I am a very observant person.  I don’t always acknowledge to others what I see, interpret, and anticipate.  In most circumstances I am aware of what is going on or coming and I make a conscious choice whether to share that knowledge or wait and watch the train wreck.  Obviously this deals more with unimportant or trivial matters; if it were ever in harm to another person I would prevent it.

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