I remember working at a boy’s camp where we had a problem with the boys leaving their shoes all over the place. The solution to this problem was to tell the campers that there was a boogie man by the name of THE JERSEY DEVIL who prowled around camp at night stealing shoes and taking any camper who dared to venture out of their cabin. This worked quite well to take care of the shoe problem, so well that some kids would pee their bed to avoid leaving the cabin! That’s not good! Somehow our culture has taken the path of peeing in the bed instead of leaving the cabin and finding out that there really is no boogie man. One of our biggest fears is crime. How many of you know that crime has been decreasing since somewhere around 1990. Almost every measurable crime statistic has dropped since 18 years after Roe v Wade in 1972, but that is another discussion. The problem is a media that reports every situation that occurs around the world, so that they can cram it into a news show with video and interviews and 27 8×10 glossy photographs! Of course there are murders, of course there are other crimes, a small portion of humans have no problem doing these things. The problem is with the immense amount of information we are inundated with is staggering. Statistically we will not be murdered, our houses will not be broken into, our cars will not be stolen (unless you own a very expensive car) and the chances of being involved in a terrorist attack are almost non-existent! THAT DOES NOT MEAN STUFF WILL NEVER HAPPEN, but the chances of any of these things happening to us is very small.
The following link is loaded with data on our chances of being involved in a crime. It points out some rather obvious facts about crime. In short, if you go to, or live in rough places, hang out with suspect people or just make dumb decisions, your chances of being in a crime are much much higher. Well duh… The data boils down to your chances of being in a crime are about 2% overall. That is an all-inclusive number which groups the almost zero chance of being in a crime with the absolute boneheads who constantly put themselves in crime’s backyard. You probably should glance at this data just to make sure you are not doing some dumb things that put you in harm’s way.
I guess the point of this article is to help people understand that YOU CANNOT LIVE IN A BUBBLE! When I would discuss this issue with my students, I would tell them that they should consider some of the real threats that face our planet, like earthquakes, or plagues, or meteor impacts, or cosmic events like a black hole within 50 light years of earth, or the warming ocean spewing out methane and destroying our air, or just general pollution of our environment causing who knows what kind of problems!
Life is a gift to all of us and it would be a shame to spend its entirety worrying about every possible catastrophe that could happen. Should I go skiing, I might break my leg or should I ride my bike, I might get hit by a car, or maybe I should stay indoors so I never get any sun. Where does it stop?! I wrote this once before, SHIT HAPPENS! There is no way you can anticipate everything that can happen, you can only weigh the choices and the risk and make a decision. Remember, life was meant to be lived, not sheltered just to stay alive. There is little use in being alive if there is not a little challenge. Sure, as we get older certain activities become increasingly risky but that is when you have to adjust your decision-making so that you can do other things.
To wrap this up I want to emphasize my main point. News media is about ratings. The more people who watch their shows, the more money they make, it is that simple! The way to make you watch these shows is to convince you that your survival is based on staying tuned in. Fear is the driving force behind most news. The next time you watch a news show, make a mental note of everything they say that is based on fear of something. You will be surprised at your findings.
One final point a little off topic. The young people in our country are generally restless. Violence in youth and drug use seem to be on the rise. Maybe the rebelliousness of youth in general is reacting to this constant onslaught of fear based media. By its nature, adolescence usually does not react properly to fearful situations. Just thought I would throw that in. I need to spend some more time contemplating this idea. I would love to hear what some of you think about this or any issue I write about.