Throwing Rocks Off a Cliff: A Short Story.

The majority of American citizens are absentmindedly throwing rocks off a cliff onto a walking path below. So many people are doing it, and have been doing it all their lives, that they all realize they're doing it, but it doesn't ever occur to anyone to stop. It's just what you do, you throw rocks over the cliff.

Along come some people walking on the path below, and everyone on top of the cliff, while still absentmindedly throwing rocks down onto the path, yells: "hey, that's dangerous, get out of there!"

If one of the people walking then happens to notice what's going on, and says: "hey, you're throwing rocks at us, stop doing that!", they are likely to get beaned in the head intentionally - that is, the throwing of the rocks becomes intentional rather than absent-minded.

At some point, someone goes down to the walking path and installs a sign that says "Hard hats required," and then returns to the top of the cliff to continue throwing rocks.

Someone then comes along walking, sees the sign, but thinks "why do I need a hard hat just to walk through here?" and continues without one. They get hit in the head by a rock thrown by someone on top of the cliff and injured badly, and everyone at the top of the cliff shouts: "It's your fault, we warned you!"

Along the way, someone invents a rock-throwing device, which throws the rocks further and harder than the citizens could by themselves. The people also start throwing larger and larger rocks, and pretty soon, they are killing people on the path below. Occasionally, one of the people throwing the rocks will venture down to the path to see what it's like, and they often never come back either.

As time goes on, it gets more and more crowded at the top of the cliff, and people keep jostling each other and getting in each other's way, so eventually they start throwing rocks at each other as well as down onto the path below. This results in even greater chaos, as the crowd is thick at the top of the cliff, and a rock thrown with the rock-throwing device often injures or kills several people at a time.

At first, there is some concern, as they see what damage this rock-throwing is causing, but they are so fascinated by the technology of the rock-throwing device, that the majority just decides to ignore it. Most of the few that were concerned are either down on the walking path, or just simply resign themselves to keep throwing rocks, because almost everyone else is.

People keep designing bigger, faster rock-throwing devices, so that they are able to throw rocks faster and further than the other citizens, and therefore they are at less risk, and as a result, people are dropping even faster than before.

Pretty soon, it simply becomes normalized that if you don't have a rock-throwing device, you have to either stay out of the area completely, or else be willing to take the blame if you get hit by one, because you have no way to defend and retaliate, and having the means to defend and retaliate is clearly necessary for survival in this world of rock-throwing. In fact, not having one is irresponsible and selfish, because you're going to cause someone real trauma if they hit you with a rock and injure you.

Occasionally, someone down on the path will suggest that people stop throwing rocks and come down from the cliff, to which everyone of course responds: "No, that's dangerous! We have the tactical advantage up here!"

The rock-throwing devices, as they advance, keep getting more and more expensive, but since they are seen to be basically essential to life, almost everyone keeps paying for one, which means large portions of their income are tied up in them, making them an even more personally valuable item, a necessity, an investment.

Those people who can't afford rock-throwers, or who simply choose not to be involved in throwing rocks go down the path with utmost caution, knowing they could get hit at any time. Their partners wait anxiously to hear from them, hoping that today won't be the day they fail to come home after work.

In order to support the rock-throwing, groups were created to manufacture the rock-throwers, and to quarry the rocks to throw. There are so many people throwing rocks at this point, that these industries have grown enormous. Even when someone sees the damage being caused by the rock-throwing, they look at how many people are employed in making rock-throwers and quarrying rocks, and realize it would be very hard on society if people stopped throwing rocks. So, instead, more resources are devoted to making sure there are always rocks to throw and rock-throwing devices to throw them with. It's always easier to keep momentum than to stop and reverse course.

So the current state of things is that the entirety of society is involved in a constant battle of either throwing or avoiding rocks. This is deemed the normal state of things, and for it to be any other way is unimaginable. Very few people will give up rock-throwing, for fear of their own safety, and the ones who do, if they are injured by the rock-throwing, are simply blamed for not following the status-quo of furious rock-throwing.