by Zoey Jones
It seems like our entire culture is run on fear. We take situations which may or may not be harmful, and completely blow them out of proportion until, eventually, we’re just freaking out over the smallest little thing.
Everything from hurricanes, terrorism and viral epidemics are covered not for the reality of the situation, but for what it could become. The number of deaths and levels of destruction are speculated on even before they happen. There’s a word for this and it’s called ‘sensationalism.’ This means being extremely controversial or over-the-top in order to draw attention to a situation rather than focusing on the facts of an event as it happens. The idea of rational thought has been thrown out the window and replaced with all out, no-holds barred terror of anything and everything controversial.
Take what happened to Ben as an example. All he did was write a story, admittedly an extreme story, about fictional characters and everyone assumed the worst. And I guess there were some hidden meanings to the messages, but that doesn’t mean that he was going to go through with it. It seems like ever since events like Columbine happened, it’s impossible to be angry without being persecuted for feeling that way. Nobody remembers what life was like when things were simpler, because we’re all so afraid of our worst fears coming true.
People have gone as far as to arrest ten year-old kids for drawing violent pictures. I’m sorry, but that seems like over reacting. Children, especially boys, have been drawing pictures about fighting and wars and guns for as long as they’ve been around. To suddenly be afraid that people are going to act on every idea in their head is nonsense. It’s how people some people work these feelings out without acting upon them. These artistic forms of expression stop them from actually committing violent or illegal acts. I think rather than condemning these efforts, we should be embracing them as a healthy alternative as long as there is reason to believe that they are only artistic expressions.
I don’t have an easy answer about how to rid ourselves of the fear that seems to rule our lives. All I can say is that we’re not going to accomplish anything by being afraid of every little thing that puts us out of our comfort zone. There’s enough in this world to be legitimately concerned about without making issues out of things that really, pose little or no threat. I guess my final message would be to just plain and simply…chill out.