Fear Factor

Saturday, August 26, 2006 | | |

Over the last several years it's hard to ignore all the things we're told to be scared of. And I don't just mean scared, but we're told we should be petrified and totally rearrange our lives because of these things. I don't mean to say that these things aren't a huge deal for those directly impacted by them, but the mass media has had great success in getting us all hyped up and keeping us glued to the various screens in our lives. Some of these are massive problems impacting millions, others are things that we're not sure have impacted anyone . . . yet . . . , but nonetheless, we're obsessed with some of these topics and living in fear in some way or another. Here are just a few that come to mind (as you read these, just think back to some of the news covered these things have garnered):

- Bird Flu
- Global Warming
- Terrorism
- Politicians
- Shark attacks
- Hurricanes
- Terror (not sure how that different from Terrorism, but the President says it so often I thought it deserved it's own category)
- War
- Famine
- Health empidemics
- Sky rocketing Oil Prices
- Asteriods/Comets destroying the planet
- Earthquakes
- Chickens and/or baseball players on steriods
- Random crime
- Identity theft
- Irradiated produce
- Tweezers on airplanes (along with snakes on airplanes, apparently)

I could keep going, but my point is that I hope we don't really let this stuff dominate our thoughts/actions. I know people who do obsess about all these topics. Politicians use these things to push our panic buttons pretty effectively - neither major party is close to innocent on that one. Osama must just love it when we crank up the "Terror Threat Level" to purple or something when he simply says we should be scared. That's a lot of power. I'm pretty certain if the media (but not the military) ignored the guy a bit, we'd suddenly feel quite a bit safer . . . and we'd be no less threatened.

Our hightened sense of fear makes us really overreact when there is a bit of news. For instance, how does it make sense that North Korea shoots some missiles into the Sea of Japan and world oil prices soar . . .

We gotta put things in perspective, but it's difficult to do that when these negative, forbodding topics are all we see or hear about. We should do what we can about these things, but we should do other things too!! There's lots of good out there, and people living pretty content lives. I wish it were just as easy to write a list of that kind of stuff based on what I see on the news . . .

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