Worrying About The Largely Unreal
A few weeks ago, Salon published an interview with an author, Lenore Skenazy, who — horrors! — let her then-nine-year-old son take the subway line, alone, that runs by their safe-as-houses home in a safe-as-houses part of New York City: Thirty years ago, this wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows, but now — even though there’s actually less violent crime now than there was thirty years ago — she was held up as The Evil Mommy.
The discussion over her heresy became a departure point for discussions of the culture of irrational fears that seem to have America in a death grip: We freak out over possible ‘stranger danger’ to our kids when 86% of all killings and 70% to 90% of all sexual molestations of children are done by persons known to the victims. We’re being told to fear allowing the wretches held without trial or even charges at Guantanamo to be put in super-secure "Supermax" facilities on American soil, while at the same time we’re told to shrug our shoulders when women are "inexplicably" killed by men who it turns out were stalking them, or when yet another death is added to the 30,000 per year that are killed in the US by firearms.
When will we learn to fear the right things?