America: Land of the Frightened, Part One
Left or right, conservative or liberal, NRA member or anti-gun, these Americans all have one thing in common. They are all scared to death that the boogeyman is coming for them. They see a terrorist attack in France and they believe it’s coming to America. They see a school shooting in Florida and now they fear their children will never make it home alive. America has become a land of frightened people. Scaredy-cats, both left and right.
Murders and suicides are always sad, emotional affairs that have happened since the dawn of humans. But something has happened over the last thirty years to Americans that makes no sense. We have lost all sense of reason; we are scared for everything, even when the odds of it happening to us are astronomical.
With all the hype and fear mongering you would think that America’s schools are a killing field, with students and teachers being mowed down by automatic weapons fire on a daily basis. Making parents worry themselves sick that when their kid gets on the bus for school they will never see them alive again. And they are wrong, so very wrong.
So far in 2018 there have been 18 reported school shooting incidents
(Everytownresearch.org). Everytown makes it clear that they count every time a gun is fired on any school campus (universities included). Of course the national media picked up this number, without researching Everytowns methodology, and began telling the American public that American schools are under attack.
Looking at the incidents Everytown has documented we find that eight incidents resulted in an injury or death. This includes one suicide of a 7th grader who killed himself in the school bathroom. Ten incidents had no injuries. Only three of these incidents, in my opinion, should actually be defined as an active shooter. They happened during school hours and they resulted in the death or injury to students and school personnel. The remainder of the “injury incidents”, either happened at college parties or after school hours in disputes in the parking lots (usually after a sporting event).
The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in the fall of 2017, 50.7 million American kids were attending elementary and secondary schools. Can you wrap your heads around this? Every day over 50 million kids (and we aren’t even counting colleges) go to school and get home safely. Yet you would not know this from the hysteria you get from the national media, the NRA, the anti-gun groups and parents. All of them are screaming that the sky is falling and that your children are in danger every day. They aren’t.
Look, it’s very sad when there is a school shooting. I am not minimizing the pain those families will go through. What I am saying is we need to be rational about this and stop living in constant fear. We already jumped onto that crazy train after 9/11. We gave up rights and freedoms for the false promise of “making you safe,” and we must not fall for this baloney again. The odds of your child being at a school where there is an active shooter who harms someone is akin to winning the Powerball lottery.
Sometimes I think that America has become too successful. And this success has taken the place of people struggling just to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. Now that they don’t worry about that, Americans have shifted their fear need. Much like an addict, it seems that Americans need fear, we drink it like alcohol, snort it like cocaine and inject it like heroin. Being afraid is the new American drug of choice.
Here are some more statistics that you probably won’t care about but let’s toss them out anyway. In America, crime has been dropping since 1992. Violent crime has been on a downward trend during this time. We still murder around 17,000 citizens every year, but that number is slowly dropping. We still have a long way to go to match European murder rates (the lowest rates in the world), but Europe murdered millions of its own citizens from 1914 to 1945, so America has them on that one.
Maybe it’s because Europe became a mass killing field in the early 20th century that they evolved and decided murder was just not the right thing to do. Maybe Americans are slow to catch up because we didn’t kill each other by the millions. Just an idea to think about.
I hope I have convinced you that you, and your kids, are safer today than at any time in history. If not, I am sure someone from the local media will be glad to put your petrified face on camera or on talk radio. Conservative or liberal, it’s what the media will do, instill fear.
Folks just live your lives and try to be happy. It’s a pretty good world we live in. Don’t give in to fear.