If this one thing doesn’t happen, our country is finished. If this law isn’t passed, people will die. If this policy isn’t ended, the economy will collapse. Our very democracy teeters on the edge of the abyss, and lives are at stake! To listen to the news these days, it’s over, everything. The only thing we don’t know is the manner of our destruction. Will it be a trade war, some white supremacist, a movie, or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?
Of course, the thing about life is, no matter what you throw at it, it goes on. Even without you.
Every death is a tragedy, and economic hard times are never easy, but our species has endured much, much worse than anything being dangled like a string in front of a doomsday cat now by politicians and journalists hoping to motivate you through fear.
While it may seem like mass shootings are happening with an alarming regularity (one is too many), and anti-Second Amendment groups and their media allies are touting absurd stats like there are more of them than days in the year, we are safer than we’ve ever been. People telling you otherwise are selling something. They’re selling you security at the price of liberty. Just a little piece of it, they only ever want a little piece of it. But it’s a little piece you’ll never get back, and they’ll be back for another soon enough.
Fear is one hell of a motivator. The Detroit Free Press declared, “mass shooting loom any time, anywhere.” Politicians know that, which is why they traffic in it in a way that makes Columbian drug lords seem only passively interested in money. But it’s not just politicians.
Outrage used to be something that would increase gradually, a dimmer switch that was turned up sparingly when warranted. Now it’s a toggle switch stuck in the “on” position and every perceived slight is a shot of nitrous oxide to the engine.
Though it mostly is, it’s not just the left. The movie “The Hunt” was in the headlines last week, until it was pulled from distribution over the weekend. The stories about it were that is was a movie about liberals hunting down Trump supporters, or “deplorables,” because someone saw a script with a line using that word in it. Conservative media played it up for clicks and views because that’s what they all do.
We’ve seen this movie before – the bad guy puts the good guy in peril because they’re evil, then the good guy wins in the end. It’s formulaic garbage that has been done dozens of times (think “The Running Man” in a different setting). Remove the emotion and think about it for a second – does anyone really believe Hollywood would fund a movie about liberals hunting conservatives and the conservatives win in the end?
The hunted have to win in the end, at least one of them, or it’s just a snuff film. If anything, it’s a movie where the rich snobs hunting people are portrayed as gun-nut conservatives trying to kill liberals. One word can easily be redefined in the world of the movie.
Either way, it’s just a movie, one that sounds stupid either way it’s framed. It would have likely been released and faded quickly were it not for the political mood in the country that thrives on manufacturing outrage.
Everyone needs to just chill.
No one is being hunted, in reality or in movies. You’re being played. Headlines are written to get clicks, cable news segments are concocted to keep you watching, any actual, factual information is conveyed now by accident, not design.
Every shooting is horrible, but you’re more likely to die in the shower than be a victim of one. The risk is never zero, but perspective is important.
The Washington Post compiled a list of everyone who has died in a mass shooting since 1966 in an attempt to sell papers and get attention. They listed 1,196 people who should not have been killed over those 54 years in 165 mass shootings. Putting aside what constitutes a mass shooting and how different groups come up with different numbers based on their agenda, what the Post exposed was, on average, 22 people have been killed each year in a mass shooting, and there is an average of 3 per year.
That doesn’t tell the whole story, of course, but it does give perspective. An average of 51 people are killed by lightning in the United States every year, for example. In Chicago, just this year, more than 1,600 people have been shot.
None of this is to cheapen tragedy, it’s to calm artificial fears. Be alert, obviously, but live your life. We’re living in a time that would be unrecognizable to anyone who lived before us. Their daily lives were a struggle to survive, to get enough food to make it through the day so they could do it again tomorrow. People were drafted into wars by leaders they’d never heard of to fight countries they didn’t know existed, and a simple cut could get infected and kill you.
We don’t realize how good we have it because those in power get more mileage out of scaring the hell out of us. Don’t let them get away with it.