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The Cold Swift Blow of Logic & The Shadow of Sensationalized Terror - Why We Should Not Live In Fear

My heart quickens to fear lately. The terror of radical Islam has felt a little too near after the massacre in Paris, but San Bernardino literally hit too close to home. It seems more frequent than ever. While driving home from a wonderful birthday celebration with friends, I was shocked when my wife received a message from her father that read that he was shopping at Tyler Mall in Riverside, and there was a mass shooting occurring, and everyone was in a state of panic. False alarm. It was just an armed robbery, but still, you can't blame anyone for feeling jumpy. In fact, a coworker of  mine told me that she was considering getting a gun, and I can't say that I blame her. But, should we really live in terror? This is a serious crisis, but do we truly need to worry?

No. When it comes to terrorism, the cold, swift blow of logic reveals to us that you are SIXTEEN times more likely to die from the flu. Furthermore, you are three times as likely to kill yourself than you are to die by someone else's gun.

Number of deaths for leading causes of death

  • Heart disease: 611,105
  • Cancer: 584,881
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978
  • Alzheimer's disease: 84,767
  • Diabetes: 75,578
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 47,112
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 41,149

I do not intend to trivialize these incidents. I am certainly sensitive to how horrific and barbaric these occurrences are. However, even if you fail to count them all, our day-to-day lives include a substantial number of calculated risks. Some of these risks are so likely to cause our eventual demise that they utterly fail to be newsworthy. Though news outlets rake in record-high ratings by sensationalizing acts of terror, humans are pattern-seeking animals, and we are especially equipped at detecting extraordinary phenomena that interrupt the typical routine.

What can we do, confine ourselves to empty islands? Even then, sea-level-rise will likely wash you away. No. Life must go on. Liberty will endure. As for me, if I have learned anything, it is that I must cherish each blessed moment of my existence, and the beautiful individuals I am fortunate enough to share it with. However, I will also constantly strive to be consciously aware of the harsh reality of death and it's ever-looming shadow, and frankly, it should not take the woeful barbarism of religious extremists to bring this truth to life.

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