In my limited experience, I've noticed there's another, similar saying that could be applied to the real world: "You make your own accidents." A blind man could trip and fall and have a really expensive ambulance ride. Or, a person could not wear gloves and guides when using a hand saw, ignore OSHA regulations while on the job, or leave their loaded gun out where kids can find them...and have a really expensive ambulance ride that way. Or, the smart person will know exactly what can hurt or kill him, and when, and when he doesn't, he asks about it. This person doesn't get injured nearly as much as the guy who's casually negligent...or even the blind guy who gets injured at random. He's set himself up so that he had the greatest reward for the lowest risk, while the negligent guy has done just the opposite.
...this truism is why i absolutely loathe the following arguments against taking action when something bad happens:
"He was just crazy."
"She had it coming."
...almost all of these arguments can be followed by, "and therefore, we should do nothing."
And in that way are the building blocks to the next bad thing happening.
Last week, a 5-year-old boy "accidentally" shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with his own rifle, as bought for him by his parents. Most of the outrage from the left is at Crickett Rifles, which markets rifles for children under the "My First Rifle" banner. Of course, most of the blame probably should go to the parents for leaving the rifle in a place where the boy could get to it (even if they thought it was a "safe place")...but when you try to point that out, many people get defensive. "Who are you to condemn these parents in their time of grief?"
...to which I say, "They made their own grief."
Later, many of these same people bust out the "accidents happen" argument, which is not an argument against gun control laws. It's not an argument against possible prosecution of these parents for negligence (although that won't happen in this case). What it is an argument for, however, is complacency. For staying silent. For doing nothing.
And I'm not even talking about laws, here, really. There is a lot that can be done between gun control legislation and a 5-year-old grabbing a gun and accidentally pulling the trigger. Something like this should motivate any parent who owns guns to make absolutely sure they are in a place where the kids can't get to them. Tragedies like Newtown should motivate anyone who knows someone who should not be near a gun to make damn sure they don't come near their guns. And criminal acts like the Boston Marathon bombing and eventual shootout should motivate anyone who thinks they know everything about the people in their lives to be more vigilant about them, to make sure that they don't get blindsided like the Tsarnaevs' acquaintances were (I would hesitate to call anyone who didn't see this coming a friend of the Tsarnaevs, even if their families don't quite believe it; I would call those who did see this coming accomplices, though.)
However, vigilance is hard. Complacency is easy. "Accidents happen." "The kid was crazy." "They were terrorists. What can you do?"
What can you do? Everything.
And if you think you can't do enough, you may want to rethink your actions. If you don't think you can keep your kids or a crazy acquaintance from your guns, don't buy them. If you don't think you're safe going down that alleyway, don't go down it. If you're not sure you can protect yourself from being injured at your current job, you need to find a new one.
Because the adage is true: You make your own luck. You make your own accidents. You make your own grief. You make your own tragedies.
But you can make your own safety net, as well. You just have to work hard to make it, and not put it off with an "accidents happen," or a "he was just crazy," or a "She shouldn't have gone that way".