Our culture of fear and why it’s wrong

While a gun shoved into the waistband of a 60-some-odd year old man’s pants goes off while he’s in Walmart’s checkout line gives me pause, the mommies who made an appearance at a Texas Target store (no pun intended) with their toddlers in tow and their assault rifles strapped to their back are enough to drive me to my knees.

Add to that the media frenzy over the local diner whose 20-something waitresses wear their plaid flannel shirts and their gun holsters snug on the job. My question: Why?

It’s fallout from 9/11. Our nation has succumbed to fear. We’re afraid of Islam, we’re afraid of socialism, communism, whatever political position opposes our own, we’re afraid of our own government, and we’re afraid of each other. Fear rules us, and in the grand scheme of things, whether you’re a Christian or a Buddhist or an atheist, that should concern you.

Fear is one of the greatest motivators. Animals in the wild run away from that which frightens them. Domesticated animals endure trips to the vet, or car rides, or whatever their master insists they tolerate, but they’re still afraid. And humans? Instead of encouraging one another NOT to be afraid, our systems are triggered by fear. The more fear, the more news… Sensationalistic journalism has reached heretofore untold heights, and the American people, in response, have become more polarized in their views than ever before.

If we all took in every article, every post, every infographic, with a “fear-o-meter,” might we find the truth on the other side? Or at least a place to discuss and interact without all the vitriol and turbulence? Is that even possible, in this day and age?

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