• David Pasikov

A Lesson from the Jungle

Updated: Mar 7




A Lesson from the Jungle


Like many of us, I have been immersed in the strife that is occurring across the globe and in our country in recent months. This has given me pause to consider what the possible solutions are to these age-old conflicts. In order to find solutions, a logical starting point is to look at cause. Is what we are seeing competing interests over natural resources, the clash of differing ideologies, the push and pull of political interests, the effects of climate change or a combination of these factors and more?


Giving thought to this, I recalled a story told to me by a close friend and Vietnam War veteran. He was an expert marksman and was trained as a sniper, which will explain why he was walking down a jungle trail on his own. Ahead of him he saw a tan colored log across his path and as he approached it, it transformed into a king cobra. Before he knew what had happened, he was several feet away from the creature and even though he is six feet tall, he was looking at it eye to eye. King cobras can be up to 18 feet long and a third of their length can stand upright.


My friend had the reflexes of a seasoned combat veteran and could have aimed his sniper rifle and easily hit his mark. He just stood there. Before long, he broke eye contact and, still facing the cobra, retreated back down the path the way he came. The cobra did not pursue him, nor did he pursue the cobra. Each had presented a real threat and danger to the other (the venom from a single king cobra bite is sufficient to kill an elephant or 20 people) but neither of them attacked.


If in modern times, one of our soldiers met a terrorist in an alley, would the same kind of outcome have occurred? I doubt it. And if our soldier had backed down, based on what I have observed, the terrorist would have seen the soldier as weak and would have become more brazen in his future attacks. I don’t know if the cobra saw my friend as weak. What I do know is that my friend told me the story with reverence and respect for the cobra.


It seems that without words, they negotiated a peaceful settlement to their predicament. I still don’t have answers to global strife but perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from this chance encounter in the jungle.



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