As we go through life, we'll find ourselves in situations that can leave us expecting the worst. This tends to depend on our individual fears, but they give us something we know to watch out for.
For instance, I became acutely aware of how few guard rails and fences the Grand Canyon had when I visited that in my youth. By the same token, any time a baseball is traveling within a mile of my family at a game, my mom is convinced that it's headed directly for her head.
But while our worries may put us on high alert, the unfortunate reality is that life is just as likely to drop something on our laps that we never would have expected. And that explains how these people got into the situations they did.