The New York Times to America: Don’t Forget to Panic!


In the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, the New York Times ran an article titled, “Fear in the Air, Americans Look Over Their Shoulders.”

Really? Have we truly become convinced, as a country, that we are in CONSTANT danger?

The writer culled his quotes from the NY Times’ query to the public: “How often, if ever, do you think about the possibility of a shooting in your daily life? Naturally, the people who answered are those for whom this question resonates — many of them crippled by an all-consuming fear of random violence. But by running this piece, the paper seems to endorse the idea that this kind of thinking is normal, or even warranted — despite the paper’s own editorial on Nov. 27, False Alarms About a National Crime Wave: “The rate of violent crime, including murder, has been going down for a quarter-century, and is at its lowest in decades.”

When I spent 14 years on staff at the NY Daily News, my editor would sometimes remind me that people read the paper because, “They want to know what can kill them.”

But that’s not quite true. No one is writing thumb-suckers about the fear of heart disease. Only the most shocking and unpredictable deaths get this kind of treatment. And it reinforces the idea that simply by stepping out of your home — or, God forbid, letting your CHILD step out of the home — death beckons.

And then we wonder why parents get arrested when their kids play outside or wait in the car. If every single public place — the mall, the restaurant, the path from SUV to school door — is imagined as a war zone, all children are in danger unless constantly supervised by someone willing to stand between them and the psychopath’s bullet. So the story below is not just a “day after” feature. It is a dose of fear, poisoning the public with panic. – L.

Fear in the Air, Americans Look Over Their Shoulders


Bunched too close together. At places you would never imagine.

As the long roll call of mass shootings added a prosaic holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., to its list, a wide expanse of America’s populace finds itself engulfed in a collective fear, a fear tinged with confusion and exasperation and a broad brew of emotions. The fear of the ordinary. Going to work. Eating a meal in a restaurant. Sending children to school. Watching a movie.

Wendy Malloy, 49, who lives in Tampa, Fla., said she now worried about being caught in an attack on a daily basis, just doing what anyone does. “When my son gets out of the car in the morning and walks into his high school,” she said. “When I drop him at his part-time job at a supermarket. When we go to the movies, concerts and festivals. When I walk into my office. It is a constant, grinding anxiety. And it gets louder every single day.”

If you were not safe there, where were you safe? A common office party. That was everywhere. That was everybody….

Afterward, the letters to the editor that the paper chose to run about the piece only added to the idea that the people interviewed were a representative sample:

To the Editor:

In light of the attack in San Bernardino, I am compelled to re-evaluate how I conduct my daily existence. Do I get on that train alongside the passenger with the oversized backpack? Do I really want to go to that concert in the park this weekend where thousands of others are expected? Should I cancel my overseas trip scheduled for next summer and simply stay home?

It seems that these are now legitimate questions each of us needs to ponder, with potentially fatal consequences should one find oneself randomly in the wrong place at the wrong time. And it’s that randomness that is most disturbing of all.

MARK GODES, Chelsea, Mass.

If those are legitimate questions, I hope Mark also questions whether he should eat a bite of solid food that he might choke on, or walk downstairs, considering he might trip and break his neck. He’s right: Random death is something “each of us needs to ponder,” because it does soooo much good. – L.


Remember to be afraid of random things that are rare and that you have no control over. It's so important!

Remember to be obsess about rare and random dangers that you cannot control. It’s vital!


, , , , , , , , , ,

50 Responses to The New York Times to America: Don’t Forget to Panic!

  1. Katie December 6, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    What’s even more shocking to me is so many American’s fear of fear generally just makes them more unsafe. Fearful Americans go and buy giant gas guzzling tanks, instead of using public transit. Then they die in mass from traffic violence and carelessness (no I’m not going to call them accidents). They cause flooding through pollution. Worse so many Americans are so concerned with self that they only care about self and their own families and don’t care about making the world a worse and more dangerous place for everyone else…thus only creating more death.

  2. Kassandra December 6, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    If anyone has ever been to Chelsea ma then they know the guy who wrote the letter to the editor should have been living in fear long before mass shootings. Just saying.

  3. Mark Y. December 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    Sometimes I wonder what people will say if we had anothet Cuban Missile Crisis. Or if NYC reverted back to ’77. I want to know if people will even just start building bunkers en masse and just never leave. People simply have no clue that despite what is going on we really are in a golden age safety wise. And it’s sad to read 15 and 16 year olds who remember nothing pre ‘9-11’ have his feeling that something bad will happen…

  4. K December 6, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    I live in one of the most violent cities in the country. There was also a school shooting at a high school near my gym (a kid brought a shotgun to school and ended up accidentally shooting a special needs kid, not his target, who survived) and a shooting at a mall, where several people were killed.

    And no, I don’t consider these things as I go about my daily business. I’m more likely to get run over by the MTA bus that always rolls though the stop sign at the corner.

  5. Curious December 6, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    I think it’s VOODOO syndrome, and fear of ZOMBIES.

    You know, SUPERSTITION. SUPERPOWERS run amok.



    Pick your poison.

    Life is dull. Living is easy. We are bored to death. What to do? Kick it up a notch with irrational fears.

    We have been doing this in America since the SALEM WITCH HUNTS.

    Here we go again! Yippee!!

  6. Joanne December 6, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Kassandra, u took the words right out of my head!

    Mark has more to worry about in his own neighborhood than anywhere else

  7. Shawn D. December 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    I generally do not fear random violence or mass shootings, but I am aware and observant when I am in certain areas (that “experts” suggest one avoid, but if you want to go to a music event in a small venue, for example, they’re usually in less-safe locales). The times I have been concerned and prepared for what was a realistic threat was from sketchy acquaintances/relatives.

  8. LaMom December 6, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    I live in a smallish town, so I don’t worry about mass attacks & shootings. I also drive a “gas guzzling tank”, because there is no public transit.

  9. Dee December 6, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Sad to say, I don’t entirely disagree with the article. Americans ARE looking over their shoulder. The bunching up of events is startling and disturbing. Is it still rare? Absolutely. Does it make you second guess? Sadly, yes. I was at a public holiday event last night and it crossed my mind that it would be an ideal location for a lunatic to make a statement. Does that mean that I stop going to these things – not at all. But lots of folks in my FB feed are concerned and talking about how they at least consider these things.

    Our office had a safety meeting this week, planned before the Paris attacks. Mostly about what our fire drill procedures are, but they mentioned the “active shooter” drill that had taken place (it’s a university and students were invited to attend) and the fact that the San Bernadino office had had such a drill and that it had helped some of them!

    I’m not a worse first thinker at all. I’ve resisted a lot of this. I think that the active shooter drill are an AWFUL thing to do to impressionable children. And unfortunately it is hard on those who have anxiety issues. But maybe it’s not such a bad thing to do know what to do in an emergency.

  10. Kat December 6, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    I ate at one of the restaurants in Paris that was attacked the night before fourteen people were shot to death there. The Italian restaurant that was shot up was at the end of the street our rental apartment was on. My children were with a babysitter the night of the attacks while I was only a few blocks from the theater. I’m dealing with anxiety from being in that situation now that we’re home, and I STILL refuse to live in fear. I’m not especially brave, or much of a risk-taker, but I will not let my anxiety rule my life or that of my children. I still let them play outside in the yard alone. I still let them walk to school. I still send the ten year old to pick up milk from the corner store. I do not want my children to live with the twisting knots of fear I get every time I hear sirens now, or go to a restaurant, or walk in a crowd. I have to deal with the aftermath, they should not. I refuse to ask “what if?” every time I leave my house. That’s not a healthy way to live, and it will only make the anxiety worse in the long run.

  11. Troutwaxer December 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    I live about 10 miles from San Bernardino, and the attack hasn’t changed my thinking much. The simple fact of the matter is that Islamic Terror is a very, very unusual way to die. The U.S. has seen about 2900 deaths by Islamic Terror in the last twenty years, including 9/11, which gives us an average death rate by Islamic terror of 145/year for the last twenty years.

    Approximately 2,500,000 Americans die every year, which means that (approximately) one death out of 17,000 is due to Islamic terror. (2,500,000 divided by 145.)

    By contrast, we lose about 450,000/year to heart disease and 450,000/year to cancer. We lose 70-90,000 each year to diseases someone picked up while in the hospital for some other ailment. We lose 7,500 each year to deaths due to misuse or bad reactions to over the counter pain medication. (In other words, someone went to the pharmacy and bought Tylenol instead of Aspirin, and turned out to be allergic to Tylenol. You can replace the brand names as needed for any particular death.) In other words, we lose fifty people to “wrong/misused over the counter pain medication” for every death due to Islamic Terror.

    Keep in mind, as you read this, that most years the rate of “death by Islam” in the U.S. is less than 10/year, and most years it is simply zero. In short, it is very, very unusual to die by Islam.

    The day of the San Bernardino attacks 109 people died in auto accidents.

  12. Yocheved December 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    Oh for pete’s sake! I live in Israel. We know what real terror is, and on a daily basis. We are still some of the happiest, most laid back people I’ve ever met. Keep calm and carry on should be our national motto. Be alert, be informed, but don’t be afraid.

  13. Suzie December 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    I was raised with having to hide under my desk, for a bomb drill. I remember sitting with my dad while the Cuban missils were pointed at us. There were fallout shelters in every major department store. I had nuns tell us that in communist China teachers had their tongues cut out so they couldn’t teach about Jesus. And children had chopsticks put in one ear and out the other so they wouldn’t hear about Jesus. I’m also from the generation where pictures from my mother’s baby shower, show her and several other pregnant women with a cigarette in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Most of us thrived on formula made with evaporated milk and corn syrup. My point? Lets just live our lives. What can it hurt to be brave and fearless?

  14. Mandy December 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    I will not be afraid – I will not let them win!

  15. Donald December 6, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    This is great! I think it’s excellent that a story like that came from a newspaper. OMG what a change of pace! This reminds me a few years ago when a parenting magazine wrote an article favoring free range ideas! A few years after this 180 degree backflip, we saw free range really starting to gain momentum.

    The fact that a newspaper wrote such an article is a good indication that the readers are getting tired of the morbid thought factories. Actually we have been tired of this for many years. However now our numbers have expanded so much that the newspaper is actually taking notice.

    “… many Americans are so concerned with self that they only care about self and their own families and don’t care about making the world a worse and more dangerous place…”

    This is the byproduct of the morbid thought factories. When they push their mantra, “Death is waiting for you on every corner” then they promote the idea that this is a game of survival and you must look out for yourself at all costs

    This is why I’m thrilled to see this artical.

  16. BL December 6, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    “Do I get on that train alongside the passenger with the oversized backpack? Do I really want to go to that concert in the park this weekend where thousands of others are expected? Should I cancel my overseas trip scheduled for next summer and simply stay home?”

    I thought that way for a short time after the World Trade Center attacks. It didn’t help that I don’t live all that far from Shanksville.

    A few weeks later I pondered whether I should go to a large spread-out festival a little more than an hour from Ground Zero in New York City. What if someone plopped an airplane onto our festival?

    I went anyway. So did the usual huge number of people. There were two bagpipe bands (this was a Celtic/Highland Games festival) who cancelled because members had died in the World Trade Center. One music group was short-handed because a member was an Army reservist who had been activated. But after a half-day of are-we-really-allowed-to-have-fun reserve, everybody decided to have their usual great time. Music was played, dances were danced, beer was drunk, cabers were thrown, and the terrorists were ignored if not forgotten for the weekend. I’ve been going to this festival for 16 years. That was one of the first times, but still the most memorable.

  17. Papilio December 6, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    I read this was mass shooting no. 353 this year. So all the other mass shootings were just, nah, business as usual, nothing to worry about, shit happens, guns-don’t-kill-people-people-kill-people, yada yada, but now that the perpetrators are linked to IS there’s suddenly reason to panic.

  18. Vicky December 6, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

    I go where I want to go but am very aware of my surroundings. Being a former National Guardswoman, I learned to ‘scan my sector’.We live in unusual and unique times where a known threat has breached all borders. Ignoring current events and political goings on nationally and in your community places anyone at a disadvantage. It is paramount to try and know an enemy, ideally, as well as you know your friend. A responsible parent should have reasonable knowledge if an area is safe for their child. To live in fear is not to live, we can’t know what we can’t know, but we can prepare for that which we do, We shouldn’t keep our children in the dark about real threats. They should have working knowledge about who and what to avoid when they are venturing out on their own. Information is power. The very best thing is be prayed up and walk with God.

  19. SanityAnyone? December 6, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

    In this rare case, I somewhat disagree with you, Lenore. It doesn’t feel right to mock people who feel more fear now, or to critique the NYT for pointing it out. Even though I consider myself a strong person who has excelled despite moderate adversity, I am definitely more suspicious and having terrible nightmares of being shot in the park by ten year olds who hate me, Jews or Israel. Raising children makes us feel more vulnerable because they are so dear to us.

    I am also more concerned about going to synagogue, the movies, public events, interfaith celebrations and more. I considered not traveling for Thanksgiving because the rest stops on the PA turnpike seemed too attractive as targets. Reading there would be extra police out, I drove and minimized my stops.

    The rate is increasing and this kind of violence is becoming business as usual. The crazies want to one-up each other.

    My kid’s middle school has lock down drills and late night police terror response exercises. Attending or sending my kids to any religious gathering, as we do almost daily, feels like a higher risk activity. The crazies know where we congregate.

    However, since it is so random and unexpected, I realize I can’t possibly hope to anticipate terror on a particular day. I don’t believe that staying on top of my kids more than what I feel is healthy will improve our odds. I still want to be fully part of our community and give the kids an excellent education that teaches them to be thoughtful citizens of the world.

    In fact, some separation improves the chance of part of the family surviving, in worst case thinking terms.

    So yes, there is fear and I think it is legitimate to an extent. I only hope we keep trying to put it in perspective and live the lives we have always strived to live.

  20. Rivka333 December 6, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

    I wonder if Mark Godes has figured out yet that the human death rate is 100%.

  21. Beth December 6, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    I carry a backpack to work, which I get to via bus, so that I don’t have to carry a purse *and* a lunch bag *and* a supplemental bag – everything goes in the backpack which probably looks oversized at times. I kind of hate that in the “see something say something” environment, my choice of bag might be questioned and I’ll find myself answering to the police about what is, for me, an everyday thing. And no, I don’t have anything to hide; I just don’t like the fact that we’re being encouraged to report our fellow citizens because something is a little different than the way the reporting person thinks it should be.

  22. Warren December 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    You just have to face facts.

    The terrorists have won the War on Terror, and the USA has lost. It is that simple.

  23. Donald December 6, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    It’s well known that eating fast food, cake, and ice cream 7 days a week will affect your health. What you feed your body has an effect. What you feed your head also affects you. I certainly don’t propose to bury your head in the sand and don’t watch the news. However there is a big difference between wanting to understand current events and dwelling on problems.

    Long story. I can’t make it short enough to fit here. However I do have it on my blog. The first part takes about how the brain works. You can skip over that and scroll down to the part where I talk about infotainment. (Nancy Grace style of news)

    When the body gets stressed, the brain releases chemicals and hormones to help us deal with it. However you can become addicted. Are you addicted? How many times did you watch the San Bernardino shooting? 5 times? 50 times? If you watch it 50 times do you think that this extra information will help security or will it help you to become part of the problem?

    Sung to the tune, ‘That’s Entertainment’. (A little different from the Bing Crosby version)

    Screaming death – of the victims last breath
    or her glance – that puts men in a trance
    or the obscene – way or treating a teen

    That’s Ent – ter – tain – ment

  24. Abigail December 6, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    Love it: “Be alert, be informed, but don’t be afraid.” Yes, yes, yes. Deciding to live life to the fullest and not be cowed by attempts to damage our way of life is a great way to deal with the terror of terrorism. I’m not giving up on the ideals of this great nation because someone is truly scary.

    Gotta mention “The Gift of Fear,” it’s a book that reminds readers about statistical likelihood and how getting wrapped up in unlikely or imagined fears dulls your responses to actual threats. Media is inhibiting instincts. If you are afraid – spend some time to be informed and be alert, because that could actually benefit you!!

  25. SKL December 6, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

    On an internet forum, people keep saying we have about 400 mass shootings a year and it’s increasing. Therefore we should all freak out (and ban guns – or stock up on guns) because it’s only a matter of time before it happens to each of us.

    But they forget to mention that mass shootings are mostly domestic or gang incidents, not random terrorist incidents like San Bernardino.

    I do believe there are more people out there planning terrorist strikes God knows when and where. I choose to view that as a random thing from the perspective of what I can do about it. I will continue to go about my business, travel with my kids, celebrate the season. I mean, I’m going to die someday, but why start dying now when I don’t have to?

  26. Anne Huddleston December 6, 2015 at 11:03 pm #

    Well, actually I think that kind of thinking IS becoming more typical of Americans. Otherwise they wouldn’t be making Donald Trump the front runner of the Republican race.

  27. CrazyCatLady December 6, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

    Yesterday I was at a Lego competition event, held at a school. Unlike normal school days, there was no one there to screen who came in and out. Kids were running through the school with their robots, looking for practice tables to fine tune them. Sometimes they were running just to run. Kids and adults from at least 15 to 20 schools were there, with no back ground checks or anything. When someone was outside a locked door, people were polite and let them in.

    It NEVER crossed my mind to be looking over my shoulder. Sure, I complained a little about the number of people that they had in close quarters at time, (because I am just not a person who likes crowds.) But it never crossed my mind that I should be looking over my shoulder. I was more worried about keeping our team together when it was close to competition time so that they didn’t miss their spot.

    It was a great day. Certainly…had someone wanted to do something, they could have come to that school, the high school with the dance competition, the high school with the basketball game, the elementary schools with the craft bazaars, or the several churches with Christmas shows and sales. No extra security or anything out of the normal.

  28. James Pollock December 6, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

    “Sometimes they were running just to run. Kids and adults from at least 15 to 20 schools were there, with no back ground checks or anything.”

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but FIRST started requiring background checks for the volunteers two years ago.

  29. Donald December 7, 2015 at 12:14 am #

    “Well, actually I think that kind of thinking IS becoming more typical of Americans. Otherwise they wouldn’t be making Donald Trump the front runner of the Republican race.”

    I disagree. Well-I sort of agree. (talk about a fence sitter)

    That kind of thinking is becoming more typical of Americans – AND it has consequences. Good judgement comes from experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgement. We’ll get through this bad judgement. The question is, how much pain (and death) do we have to go through before we learn?

    Knowledge bumps don’t stop at age 6 and skinned knees. Take a relationship breakdown for example. We can take what we learned or continue to make the same mistakes. Some people have to live through the hell of snowballing anxiety (and spread the fear hysteria) before they understand that it is as bad (or worse) as dying from a terrorist bomb!

    BTW snowballing anxiety can be as bad as I say. This is why I don’t understand why some parents WANT to give it to their kids in order to protect them.

  30. hineata December 7, 2015 at 2:08 am #

    @Papilio – according to something I read on Facebook (yeah, I know, but it was well-written as articles go), North Carolina has produced a lot more terrorists acting on US soil than IS. This chap recommended closing off the borders to the Carolinas……

    And yet no one seems to worry about NC. Muslim extremists are just the latest boogeymen.

  31. sexhysteria December 7, 2015 at 4:01 am #

    I live in Sicily where thousands of immigrants from North Africa arrive every year, many of whom are healthy young men claiming to be political refugees (who left their mothers, sisters, daughters at home), but there is no fear in the air here.

  32. andy December 7, 2015 at 4:55 am #

    @sexhysteria Why being healthy young man excludes possibility of being political refugee or being in danger in war torn country? They do not load boat straight from comfy home, their trip starts much further and is physically taxing. Why would it be surprising that those who overcome the most obstacles tend to be young healthy men? Everyone else was stopped by something along the route.

    I have seen that “young men cant possibly be in danger” line with “only women can” corollary and it is disturbing every time. Given the choice between joining one of violent fractions or running away, which is a choice some young men really face, running away may easily end up as the best (including morally) option overall.

    I get that refugees bring a host of problems with them to country they go in. But, how often and easily people dismiss them on the grounds of their gender and age is something I really did not expected before current crisis. As I told, it is disturbing. (Just as Canadas “only women allowed” was major wtf.).

  33. Opal December 7, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    To me, there’s a big difference between being scared and being aware of your surroundings and thinking of what you may do in a particular situation. Just as I think of what I may do if involved in a car accident (relatively very likely, lots of thought and attention when in the car or on the motorcycle-examples include, “He’s following closely. If he’s closer, I can pull off up there.”), when I’m in a crowded area or, more importantly, in charge of students, I try to remain aware of those around me and have at least some idea of what to do in an emergency. For instance, noting the closest exits in a movie theater in case of fire, tornado, crazy person, etc.

    My campus was recently alerted to a threat by an anonymous student to come to campus and shoot it up. The university chose to remain open, which I applaud, but I did give some thought to how I would react should anything happen while I was teaching, even while knowing it was unlikely. I wasn’t scared, just a bit more observant. I used it as an opportunity to review our safety protocols for many situations, almost all more likely than a shooter (e.g., student having a medical emergency, power outages, tornadoes, car accident with students in a campus vehicle). Some students were terrified and chose to stay home, and were mad at the University for not giving them excused absences. That was dumb. One 19 year old wrote to the local newspaper to say that her Dad MADE her stay home from classes, so it wasn’t her fault. A 19 year old. Not a 9 year old. To me, fear is altering your activities in the absence of a direct, likely threat. Awareness/preparation is going about your business while remaining aware of your surroundings and thinking ahead.

  34. Crystal Kupper December 7, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    If it truly is random, then problem solved: there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it, and we may as well keep living life to the fullest. We are leaving soon to adopt our newest daughter in Eastern Europe, in a country that borders some pretty dicey places. And more than one person has asked us, “Aren’t you afraid to go there right now?” The answer: not even a little. When it’s our time, it’s our time, and no amount of safety preparation can prevent it.

  35. E December 7, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    I haven’t read the full article yet but I don’t think it’s surprising that people reflect/think and even have some level of “fear” (which can be broadly defined).

    If someone you know has a car accident, you probably think about that happening, why it happened, if you (or your kid driver) are at risk. Is there anything you can/should be doing after thinking about it. If a friend is diagnosed with cancer, you reflect on that, you think about your screenings, you compare/contrast that experience.

    At least that’s what most people do.

    The idea that a random violent attack causes people to think about things? Not surprising. I went to the same movie that was being played when a gunman opened fire in a Lafayette LA theater. I went a day or two after the shooting. While waiting for the movie, my thoughts wandered to that for a second. I wasn’t afraid, but if not for the shooting, I wouldn’t have thought about it. I also kind of “noticed” that someone came into the theater late in the movie, walked across the front and stood on the other side. It was just a theater employee, but I can’t ever recall noticing that before. Again, I wasn’t in fear, but if not for the shooting, would I have noticed? Don’t know.

    I know people who never allowed their kids to ride buses to school. It was not a “risk” (in their eyes however inaccurate that was) they wanted to take. This was a normal, well educated, non helicopter parent who raised 3 great college educated and independent kids.

    Some things just resonate with people differently…because we aren’t all the same.

    I don’t think it’s accurate to compare accidents (cars, choking) to intended violence. Sure I get that statistics speak to the probability of all risks, but there is a difference in complete accidents and violence. I can accept they impact thoughts differently.

  36. E December 7, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    @SKL, I don’t think the “mass shooter” stats are forgetting anything. I think they are simply recording stats in regard to gun violence with >=4 deaths. It’s okay to be against all gun violence I think is the point.

  37. Beth December 7, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    My mother-in-law used to say “when it’s your time, it’s your time” constantly. Drove me nuts…here’s why:

    If each person has a predetermined time to die, why take any precautions or safety measures at all? Don’t need to wear a seatbelt, drive carefully, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, take medication, don’t practice any type of due diligence..because when it’s your time it’s your time, and it’s not your time til it happens.

    If this is true, I would LOVE to eat crap food every day of my life – but somehow, I just personally can’t believe that it is. (Kind of like I can’t believe it was predetermined that the kids at Sandy Hook were destined to die that day.)

  38. E December 7, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    @Beth — yes. Some things do make you safer (or healthier).

  39. Katie December 7, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    @Donald. I’m sick of the morbid though factories too. On that note, I think people need to realize that when it comes the mainstream media they are trying to make you afraid. I had a friend who had the bad luck of becoming headline infamous news. NBC was determined to ruin his life to make the story more interesting. With no trial having occurred the day after they decided to label him the “***** bomber”. I offered to be interviewed-they ignored me. I posted comments on their website-they took them down. Instead they decided to interview random people in a parking lot who made stupid idiotic comments like “Oh, that is near the elementary school” or “Well you can’t let him get away with it he has to be punished”.

    People need to understand that the oligarchy, the media, the corporations-they all want you to be afraid and our selling you lies.

    *****I purposely left the title out.

  40. Andrew December 7, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Gun violence is bad, of course, and the US attitude to “bearing arms” is hard to imagine from Europe. It is no coincidence that the number of gun deaths in the US is so high.

    That said, a crazy person with a knife can kill or injure people too – there was an incident in London just this weekend – they just have to do it more slowly. I am sure we can all imagine ways that a sufficiently motivated crazy person could use to kill or injure people using means at anyone’s disposal. You might have heard about the garbage truck driver in Glasgow who suffered a medical emergency last year and mowed down a group of pedestrians. We are not going to ban knives or vehicles, but we can ban automatic weapons, weapons with more than one or two rounds in the magazine, weapons that are easy to conceal or to reload, etc.

    As another commenter said already, keep calm and carry on, otherwise the bad people have won already.

  41. E December 7, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Yes, most people would like to and actually do continue to carry on.

    Anxiety is a real thing, even without random gun violence.

  42. Warren December 7, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    “As another commenter said already, keep calm and carry on, otherwise the bad people have won already.”

    Internal immigration check points, TSA screening at the airports, latitudes given under the Patriot Act, immense security screenings entering public events, “if you see something, say something”………………………..the “bad” people have already won.

  43. MichaelF December 7, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    It’s amazing that SB got more press because of who did it, when Colorado happened I didn’t see any links to Christian Groups that might be prompting violence. Funny how you can link it all up into something else when you want to.

    Regarding Mark from Chelsea, dude, if you weren’t concerned before by living there then you’ve got your head in a deep hole. May as well move to Brockton to be “safe”.

    Terrorists want you afraid, that is their goal. If you give in then they win. I still go about my life, same as I did after the Boston Marathon bombings. I will still keep an eye out, but I am not going to change my life because of some crazy ideological concept.

  44. E December 7, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

    I wouldn’t deny the press has motivations that make some stories more ‘reported’ than others, then again, viewers/people are more interested in situations that they think are closer to them (see the previous comments about gun violence and how most are committed by gangs or someone you know — our brains, presuming we don’t travel in those kind of circles, can push them further away).

    But let’s be fair. SB had a larger impact (injury and death), it involved more than 1 gunman, and they got away, and from appearances they had something more/larger/different planned. And it’s the largest terror impact (in the US) since 9/11.

    Every new tragedy replaces the prior it seems.

    But this is off Lenore’s topic anyway.

  45. Michael December 8, 2015 at 1:48 am #

    A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU, LENORE. Keeping us grounded in rational reality one post at a time.

  46. SteveS December 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Be alert, be informed, but don’t be afraid.

    I like this quote from earlier in the comments. I take reasonable precautions and try to be aware of my surroundings, and just go on with life.

    As for the number of mass shootings, most of those articles are garbage. I have seen them debunked by any number of sources. The only way they can come up with that kind of number is to expand the definition to include things that were previously not considered “mass shootings”. There were also incidents that were likely made up and some incidents involved kids shooting at other kids with BB guns.

  47. Stephanie F December 8, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    I live just a couple towns over from San Bernardino, so you can imagine that this shooting was a big deal for us. The final shootout with the police happened about a block and a half from where my husband was at work. My children’s school when on modified lockdown – basically no recess and the kids who were at lunch were sent back to class. Oddly enough, schools closer to it all were less likely than ours to go into lockdown – local Facebook boards were full of parents complaining about it, and I tend to agree with them, because the local situation was potentially dangerous.

    I didn’t do what a lot of parents did – more than half my daughter’s first grade class was picked up early by frightened parents. I didn’t pick mine up, even though I knew my eighth grader was scared, because I knew how very unlikely it was that the shooters would come clear up to our town, then pick my kids’ school. My feeling was that making it into a really big deal by taking my kids out of school would make the whole thing more traumatic for them. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I think it was the right one. Even with genuine danger so close, it wasn’t a likely problem right where we were.

    Last weekend, my oldest daughter and I volunteered, as usual, at the local animal shelter. They were having an event where pet owners could have their pet get a photo with Santa. One of the other volunteers just kept going on about how her instincts were telling her it was a bad decision to hold the event that day, that something was going to happen. I explained to my daughter privately that it wasn’t instinct acting there, it was fear. Unsurprisingly, the event was peaceful.

    Despite living so close to it all, we haven’t changed our activities. We went shopping over the weekend and just lived a normal life.

  48. ebohlman December 8, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    I wonder how much of this fearful behavior is really a form of virtue signaling, especially when it comes to parenting. Restricting your/your kids’ behavior demonstrates to fearful others that you take their concerns seriously and that you Care.

    I’ve lived through far more dangerous times than we live in now. Throughout the Cold War, I lived a few miles from a military installation that certainly had Soviet nuclear missiles pointed at it. I’ve lived in neighborhoods with notable gang presences. Violent crime is still way, way down from what it was when I was a teenager/twentysomething.

    Here’s my try at a stupid clickbait headline: “Would your teenage daughter be safer if she traded places with Anne Frank?” (what scares me most is the number of people who wouldn’t know who Frank was)

  49. James Pollock December 8, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

    “Would your teenage daughter be safer if she traded places with Anne Frank?”

    What, you mean buried 6 feet underground??? I don’t see how…

  50. Matt in GA December 9, 2015 at 8:48 am #

    Someone shared this with me on social media, and it seems appropriate to share it here:
    Pondering this month’s recent tragedies I came across this C.S Lewis quote too good not to share…”If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things–praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”