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Irrational Concerns

Hard Truth

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Part of the problem with politics in the USA these days is that the media and other forces distorts the reality of the dangers we face. Political decisions are rarely made with an eye on the statistics on the likelihood of the things we most fear actually happening,

This is my list of some of the most common irrational or exaggerate fears. I am not saying that some of these are not legitimate concerns, it is just that the odds of these things happening to you, or causing great harm are extremely slim. Disagree? Then show me statistics on how likely any of these things are to happen to anyone in the USA.

Child molestation by predatory strangers.
Violence from home invaders
Terrorist attack
Drug pushers selling hard drugs to young children
homosexual rapists
Imposition of Sharia law
kidnapping
Murderers in schools
sex trafficking
foreign invaders
harm to children from porn exposure











I highly recommend the book "Culture of Fear" by Barry Glassner
 

Fisher

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If you say the odds are "pretty slim", isn't the onus on you to do your own research? Nobody has a duty to prove anything to you.
 

mak2

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For example, there has never been a single case of Sharia law tried in a US court. Yet many fear creeping sharia. How many people in US have been killed in the last year from terrorist attack? Not many. The OP has a point, but maybe it is indicitaive of the 24 hour news cycyle and whacky politics.
If you say the odds are "pretty slim", isn't the onus on you to do your own research? Nobody has a duty to prove anything to you.
 

Hard Truth

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If you say the odds are "pretty slim", isn't the onus on you to do your own research? Nobody has a duty to prove anything to you.
Thanks for your insightful contribution to this thread.
 

Fisher

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For example, there has never been a single case of Sharia law tried in a US court. Yet many fear creeping sharia. How many people in US have been killed in the last year from terrorist attack? Not many. The OP has a point, but maybe it is indicitaive of the 24 hour news cycyle and whacky politics.
Ask the folks in Boston about terror attacks. The odds of me being killed by a volcano are pretty slim unless Yellowstone blows through the ozone layer, but that is because I do not live near a volcano. I am more likely to be killed by a tractor than a terror attack as people in New York would be less likely to be killed by a tractor.
 

radcen

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For example, there has never been a single case of Sharia law tried in a US court. Yet many fear creeping sharia. How many people in US have been killed in the last year from terrorist attack? Not many. The OP has a point, but maybe it is indicitaive of the 24 hour news cycyle and whacky politics.
I blame the media, but not in the way most people do. I mean, yes, they do sensationalize stuff, but I'm talking about from a simple accessibility standpoint. Example...

Home invasion crime with 4 brutal murders, 2 of which are children...

1970...
You heard about it if it happened in your town.
You maybe heard about it if it were 150 miles away.
You probably didn't hear about it if it were across the country.

2013...
You'll probably hear about it regardless where you are and regardless where it happened.

I believe the accessibility of information gives the illusion that these crimes happen more often, but I'm not sure they really are.
 

Fisher

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Thanks for your insightful contribution to this thread.
Well my post certainly contains more insight than the OP, so you're welcome.
 

Hard Truth

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Ask the folks in Boston about terror attacks. ....
267 people injured or killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, 625,000 residents of Boston. Chances that a Boston resident was injured or killed in that attack: .0427%. (actually much less since many out of town visitors were probably in town at that time.)
 

Baralis

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I blame the media, but not in the way most people do. I mean, yes, they do sensationalize stuff, but I'm talking about from a simple accessibility standpoint. Example...

Home invasion crime with 4 brutal murders, 2 of which are children...

1970...
You heard about it if it happened in your town.
You maybe heard about it if it were 150 miles away.
You probably didn't hear about it if it were across the country.

2013...
You'll probably hear about it regardless where you are and regardless where it happened.

I believe the accessibility of information gives the illusion that these crimes happen more often, but I'm not sure they really are.
A year or so ago I researched this very thing and found that convictions per capita have been relatively stable since they have been recorded (generally a few % point range). Now Im not sure if this is true representation of crime but it was the best that I could find. It has lead me to believe that most of our media outcry about crime, with some exceptions, is purely sensationalism to promote agendas.
 

Hard Truth

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A year or so ago I researched this very thing and found that convictions per capita have been relatively stable since they have been recorded (generally a few % point range). Now Im not sure if this is true representation of crime but it was the best that I could find. It has lead me to believe that most of our media outcry about crime, with some exceptions, is purely sensationalism to promote agendas.
Yes, crime is down overall. Media coverage generates high ratings and lots of newspaper sales so there isn't necessarily a political agenda. One result of media coverage of violence is that it makes people more likely to stay home and watch TV. The more TV a person watches, the more likely they are too perceive the world as dangerous. Add in the fact that in many parts of the USA there are virtually no visible alternatives to the mainstream media and the result is a misinformed and scared public-not a good recipe for high quality democracy or culture.
 

radcen

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Yes, crime is down overall. Media coverage generates high ratings and lots of newspaper sales so there isn't necessarily a political agenda. One result of media coverage of violence is that it makes people more likely to stay home and watch TV. The more TV a person watches, the more likely they are too perceive the world as dangerous. Add in the fact that in many parts of the USA there is virtually no visible alternative to the mainstream media and the result is a misinformed and scared public.
I tend to agree with this. Their agenda has more to do with keeping people reading and watching. I read a story just this morning about how some feel certain media outlets and personalities are pushing for US intervention in Syria because it would help their sales and ratings.

Hearst was famous for this regarding the Spanish-American War, and while it would be nice to think that we've evolved beyond that, I don't think we have.
 

Hard Truth

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I believe the media is roughly 50% responsible for getting us into the last several wars by portraying the preceding events as outrages that we must respond to militarily. Then, oddly enough, when the wars are no considered newsworthy, they often belatedly start promoting the opposition to the wars.
 

radcen

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I believe the media is roughly 50% responsible for getting us into the last several wars by portraying the preceding events as outrages that we must respond to militarily. Then, oddly enough, when the wars are no considered newsworthy, they often belatedly start promoting the opposition to the wars.
In a way, they're being consistent... be the contrarian, promote whatever course we're not taking at the moment.
 

Paschendale

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For example, burglaries were renamed "home invasions". Why? Just to make them more scary so we'll be more susceptible to emotional rhetoric that invokes them.
 

radcen

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For example, burglaries were renamed "home invasions". Why? Just to make them more scary so we'll be more susceptible to emotional rhetoric that invokes them.
I might actually defend this one. Granted it's still a burglary, but I interpret a "home invasion" as being especially in-your-face over-the-top guns-drawn people-are-awake-and-about-to-be-held-hostage types of burglaries. A certain terror aspect added than a so-called 'normal' burglary wouldn't necessarily have.
 

sangha

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Ask the folks in Boston about terror attacks. The odds of me being killed by a volcano are pretty slim unless Yellowstone blows through the ozone layer, but that is because I do not live near a volcano. I am more likely to be killed by a tractor than a terror attack as people in New York would be less likely to be killed by a tractor.
The people in NYC are more likely to die from being struck by lightning than from a terrorist
 

Hard Truth

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For example, burglaries were renamed "home invasions". Why? Just to make them more scary so we'll be more susceptible to emotional rhetoric that invokes them.
The term "home invasion" should refer to those situations when the robbers intentionally rob you when you are at home so they can get the combination to your safe and rape your daughter. (which is quite rare*) I wouldn't be surprised if the media didn't also use the term to refer to situations with burglars accidentally encountering someone in the home or even just regular burglaries.

* USA population 313 million, burglaries per year: 3.7 million, in 28% a household member is home, in 7% a household member experienced violence. That calculates to a .083% chance that someone will experience a violent robbery at home in a given year.
 
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ttwtt78640

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The media is in line with the nanny state liberals that want to add a gov't solution for every problem. Sacry stuff, including the items on your list, fit that bill perfectly. The window of opportunity for legislative action is becoming much shorter as the public's attention span is getting ever shorter. The mass shooting rage did not last long enough for our congress critters to ram more federal gun control down our throats, yet it did allow some of the more liberal states to enact their own whacky versions of stricter gun limiting laws.
 

Removable Mind

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The people in NYC are more likely to die from being struck by lightning than from a terrorist

Whewwww...good to know.

I was just there for the past 5 days. Just got back at midnight last night.

Day before yesterday I was standing on the WTC grounds looking at the names of people who died, which were engraved on the ledge of the waterfall memorials built on the site. Last time I was at the WTC was in 1998. That whole area looks so different.

I go to NYC once or twice a year. But just didn't go back to the WTC since 911.

I was in NYC a few days after Sandy hit last fall. What a mess. Ellis Island is still shutdown. Sandy was a terrorist in disguise.

What really messes with my head in NYC...riding in cabs. Freaks me out. This trip...saw 3 cab accidents. Crazy people.
 

Paschendale

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I might actually defend this one. Granted it's still a burglary, but I interpret a "home invasion" as being especially in-your-face over-the-top guns-drawn people-are-awake-and-about-to-be-held-hostage types of burglaries. A certain terror aspect added than a so-called 'normal' burglary wouldn't necessarily have.
Which almost never ever happens. But the rhetoric makes it sound like this sort of thing happens every day. It maintains the idea that every burglar really wants to rape your kids, rather than just steal a few things and get out as fast as possible. My house was burgled when I was a kid. We were all asleep upstairs. The burglar was probably in the house for ten minutes and absolutely didn't want to wake us up. That's reality. "Home invasions" are an irrational concern.

The term "home invasion" should refer to those situations when the robbers intentionally rob you when you are at home so they can get the combination to your safe and rape your daughter. (which is quite rare*) I wouldn't be surprised if the media didn't also use the term to refer to situations with burglars accidentally encountering someone in the home or even just regular burglaries.

* USA population 313 million, burglaries per year: 3.7 million, in 28% a household member is home, in 7% a household member experienced violence. That calculates to a .083% chance that someone will experience a violent robbery at home in a given year.
Probably even lower than that if you keep that intent element involved. As above, my home was burgled while I was there, and if we had attacked the burglar, probably we would have experienced violence, but the burglar certainly didn't intend it. But yes, the term is used to describe pretty much all burglaries to make people more afraid.
 

Hard Truth

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The media is in line with the nanny state liberals that want to add a gov't solution for every problem. Sacry stuff, including the items on your list, fit that bill perfectly. The window of opportunity for legislative action is becoming much shorter as the public's attention span is getting ever shorter. The mass shooting rage did not last long enough for our congress critters to ram more federal gun control down our throats, yet it did allow some of the more liberal states to enact their own whacky versions of stricter gun limiting laws.
Centrists and some liberals are often guilty of over-reacting to the latest media scare, but conservatives are equally or more guilty with their calls for tougher sentencing laws, censorship of the internet, advocacy of gun ownership for personal safety, arm guards and/or armed teachers in schools, invasion of privacy in the name of fighting terrorism (until Obama got elected). anti-Sharia laws and opposition to new Mosques, public lists of all sex offenders, increased military spending, opposition to gay rights, new drug laws, etc. All based on exaggerated fears.
 

ttwtt78640

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Centrists and some liberals are often guilty of over-reacting to the latest media scare, but conservatives are equally or more guilty with their calls for tougher sentencing laws, censorship of the internet, advocacy of gun ownership for personal safety, arm guards and/or armed teachers in schools, invasion of privacy in the name of fighting terrorism (until Obama got elected). anti-Sharia laws and opposition to new Mosques, public lists of all sex offenders, increased military spending, opposition to gay rights, new drug laws, etc. All based on exaggerated fears.
Indeed. The era of big gov't (but just put it on our tab) is definitely upon us. ;)
 

radcen

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Which almost never ever happens. But the rhetoric makes it sound like this sort of thing happens every day. It maintains the idea that every burglar really wants to rape your kids, rather than just steal a few things and get out as fast as possible. My house was burgled when I was a kid. We were all asleep upstairs. The burglar was probably in the house for ten minutes and absolutely didn't want to wake us up. That's reality. "Home invasions" are an irrational concern.
As I understand it, "home invasions", when they do happen, are generally limited to gang-type connections, and so on. The terror aspect meant to send a message, so to speak.

I agree the term is beginning to be overused by the media.
 

Papa bull

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Part of the problem with politics in the USA these days is that the media and other forces distorts the reality of the dangers we face. Political decisions are rarely made with an eye on the statistics on the likelihood of the things we most fear actually happening,

This is my list of some of the most common irrational or exaggerate fears. I am not saying that some of these are not legitimate concerns, it is just that the odds of these things happening to you, or causing great harm are extremely slim. Disagree? Then show me statistics on how likely any of these things are to happen to anyone in the USA.

Child molestation by predatory strangers.
Violence from home invaders
Terrorist attack
Drug pushers selling hard drugs to young children
homosexual rapists
Imposition of Sharia law
kidnapping
Murderers in schools
sex trafficking
foreign invaders
harm to children from porn exposure











I highly recommend the book "Culture of Fear" by Barry Glassner
Don't forget to add "mass murder with semi-automatic scary looking rifles".
 
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