Illustration: Influence
It all started with one self-destructive leap.

Shepherds eating breakfast outside the town of Gevas, Turkey, were surprised to see a lone sheep jump off of a nearby cliff and fall to its death. They were stunned, however, when the rest of the nearly 1,500 sheep in the herd followed, each leaping off of the same cliff.

When it was all over, the local Aksam newspaper reported that "450 of the sheep perished in a billowy, white pile" (those that jumped from the middle and end of the herd were saved as the pile became higher and the fall more cushioned). The estimated loss to the families of Gevas tops $100,000—an extremely significant amount of money in a country where the average person earns about $2,700 annually.

"There's nothing we can do. They're all wasted," said Nevzat Bayhan, a member of one of the 26 families whose sheep were grazing together in the herd. ("450 Sheep Jump to Their Deaths in Turkey," WashingtonPost.com (7-8-05), by way of PreachingToday.com)