Politicians give us all sorts of things to fear: Ebola, illegal immigrants, terrorists, extremists in the other party that jeopardize our lives and the list could go on. Yet, the scariest things are the ones we don’t see coming at us.

Friday, a longtime salesperson for our newspapers was joking around with people in our Spring Valley office, something he does frequently as he likes to have fun. Monday, he was calling from a hospital bed, worried about getting his work done and lamenting that his life had been drastically changed.

He was in a car accident on Highway 52 near Cannon Falls Saturday afternoon. A car he never saw coming hit his vehicle, sending him and the other three people with him to the hospital.

None of the injuries were classified as life-threatening, but they will have an impact on their lives. He sounded optimistic that he will be back to full speed soon, but it is too early now to know exactly what is going to happen.

People in our organization should be used to life-changing incidents that could never have been predicted.

Two years ago, an editor of ours leaned back with her camera and fell off a bridge into the rocks of the river below. Although she was able to eventually resume her column, she still hasn’t returned to regular work and is still dealing with issues as a result of the fall.

Just before that, my daughter, who worked in our cell phone store at the time, was involved in an auto accident that involved a fatality. Although she wasn’t injured, the incident still took a toll, possibly leading to other issues she is dealing with today.

These, and the other unexpected turns of events to people in our company that have also occurred over the years, weigh on us, both as a business and personally.

However, we haven’t let those thoughts cripple us. We aren’t afraid to walk out the door and carry on life as we know it.

Life has risks. In a split second — meeting a car you never saw at high speed, losing your balance, getting an unexpected dire medical diagnosis, making a wrong move, suffering the wrath of nature in a violent storm, seeing a drunk driver coming your way and confronting other everyday dangers  — our lives could be inalterably changed for the worse.

We can’t control everything that happens. Yet, we have the courage to carry on life without cowering in fear about every possible ramification.

These unexpected misfortunes cause us to reflect on the uncertainty in our world, perhaps leading us to question the meaning in our fleeting life, or alternatively, giving us deeper spirituality.

On the other hand, politicians want us to cower in fear from a constant barrage of threats. They want you to believe they can control dangers they are eager to point out. They create the illusion that bad things are at our doorsteps and only they can eliminate the uncertainties of these risks.

They don’t want us to think, to reflect. They just want us to fear.

Of course, they are after something — our vote, our money or our acceptance of extreme measures to try to control the perceived threat.

Don’t buy into it. Threats are everywhere. They may come from a foreigner with a disease or an axe to grind. They may also come from a neighbor who gets distracted while driving or a minor error on our part.

Life is full of uncertainties and constant risks. We can’t always control our fate — and neither can politicians.