Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~Author unknown

What is it about this country that makes us so fearful? How is fear created? These are the questions that I have been pondering.

On August 30th, 2010 Bethany Storro, a beautiful 28 year old woman from Vancouver, Wa told the story of how a black woman threw acid in her face. It was a stranger to stranger encounter. The story was told all over the news. What did this do to the community in which this occurred? It made them fearful. It made me fearful a state away. The story turned out to be hoax, that Ms. Storro had actually done it to herself. But there was a copycat incident, a real one in Mesa, AZ. It happened to a 41 year old, mother of 5. And once again, fear has been created.

June 4th, 2010, Kyron Hormon, a 7 year old Oregon boy, allegedly gets kidnapped right from his own school, Skyline Elementary. This incident occurred within minutes of Forest Park, a running trail that I commonly run at. What did this incident do? To all the families that have children attending Skyline Elementary, it created fear. It created fear to the local community, it created fear in me as it was so close to Forest Park. Kyron is still missing, but authorities have repeatedly announced that his stepmother, Terri Hormon has some discrepancies in her story as she was the last to see him. She has not yet been named a suspect.

September 1, 2010, a man entered the lobby of the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was holding a gun and wore a backpack filled with bombs. He took three hostages, 2 employees and a security guard. Fear has been created.

When you watch the news, its filled with murders, accidents, school shootings and health scares. Fear is created.

If you never seen the Michael Moore movie "Bowling for Columbine" I highly suggest it. If you have not,
below is what it is about. Read, watch the movie trailers, watch the movie.

Bowling for Columbine movie trailers:

Bowling for Columbine is a 2002 American documentary film written, directed, produced, and narrated by Michael Moore.
The film explores what Moore suggests are the causes for the Columbine High School massacre and other acts of violence with guns. Moore focuses on the background and environment in which the massacre took place and some common public opinions and assumptions about related issues. The film looks into the nature of violence in the United States.
In Moore's discussions with various people – including South Park co-creator Matt Stone, the National Rifle Association's then-president Charlton Heston, and musician Marilyn Manson – he seeks to explain why the Columbine massacre occurred and why the United States has a high violent crime rate (especially crimes involving guns).
The film title originates from the story that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold – the two students responsible for the Columbine High School massacre – attended a school bowling class early that morning, at 6:00 a.m., before they committed the attacks at school starting at 11:19 a.m. Later investigation showed that this was based on mistaken recollections, and Glenn Moore of the Golden Police Department concluded that they were absent from school on the day of the attack.[4]
Moore asks if the school system is responding to the real needs of their students or if they are reinforcing fear. Moore also interviews two young residents of Oscoda, Michigan, in a local bowling alley, and learns that guns are relatively easy to come by in the small town. Eric Harris spent some of his early years in Oscoda while his father was serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Moore compares gun ownership and gun violence in other countries with gun ownership and gun violence in the United States. Moore concludes that there is no connection between gun ownership and gun violence. In search of the reason for the United States’s trigger mania, Moore discovers a culture of fear created by the government and the media. He says that fear leads Americans to arm themselves, to gun making-companies' advantage. Moore suggests sarcastically that bowling could have been just as responsible for the attacks on the school as Marilyn Manson, or even Bill Clinton, who launched bombing attacks on several countries around that time.[5]
Moore attempts to contrast this with the attitude prevailing in Canada, where (he states) gun ownership is at similar levels to the U.S. He illustrates his thesis by visiting neighborhoods in Canada near the Canada-U.S. border, where he finds front doors unlocked and much less concern over crime and security.In this section, a montage of possible causes for gun violence are stated by television persona. Many claim links with violence in television, cinema, and computer games; towards the end of the montage, however, a series of statements all claim Marilyn Manson's responsibility. Following this is an interview between Moore and Marilyn Manson. Manson shares his ideas about the United States' climate with Moore, stating that he believes U.S. society is based on "fear and consumption", citing Colgate commercials that promise "if you have bad breath, [people] are not going to talk to you" and other commercials containing fear-based messages, and that the media would rather point at him as the one responsible for the killings instead of the President, who ordered more bombings on that specific day than any other. When Moore asks Manson what he would say to the kids and community at Columbine, Manson replies, "I wouldn't say a single word to them; I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what no one did."
Moore follows up his climate of fear thesis by exploring the popular explanations as to why gun violence is so high in the United States. He examines Marilyn Manson as a cause, but states that Germany listens to more Marilyn Manson and has a greater Gothic population than the United States, with less gun violence (Germany: 381 incidents per year). He examines violent movies but notes that they have the same violent movies in other countries, showing The Matrix with French sub titles (France: 255 incidents per year). He also examines video games, but states that violent video games come from Japan (Japan: 39 incidents per year). Concluding his comparisons with the idea that the United States' violent history is the cause, but negating that with the violent histories of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom (UK: 68 incidents per year), Moore ends his segment with gun related death-per-year statistics of a few major countries.
  1. United States - 11,127 (3.601 per 100,000)
  2. Germany – 381 (0.466/100,000)
  3. France – 255 (0.389/100,000)
  4. Canada – 165 (0.484/100,000)
  5. United Kingdom – 68 (0.109/100,000)
  6. Australia – 65 (0.292/100,000)
  7. Japan – 39 (0.030/100,000)
What I took away from the movie is that we live in a very fearful nation. In most places in America, we lock our doors, lock our cars up, carry mace, have alarm systems. We are fearful and I have become one of those who is afraid. But why?

I was watching television the other night and an actress came on a commercial and said that 1 out of 6 American women are raped in their lifetime. I took the time and looked up facts about rape and women;

1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).1
17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.1
9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.2
While about 80% of all victims are white, minorities are somewhat more likely to be attacked.

Lifetime rate of rape /attempted rape for women by race:1
  • All women: 17.6%
  • White women: 17.7%
  • Black women: 18.8%
  • Asian Pacific Islander women: 6.8%
  • American Indian/Alaskan women: 34.1%
  • Mixed race women: 24.4%
Scary statistics.

I was running a very busy street one morning. It is the same route that I have been running for years and this driver followed me for about 1/2 mile. I have seen him before and he has even waved at me and has tried to talk to me. During this incident, he pulled down a street, then out of it, then down another and waited for me to run by him. I saw him and ran on the opposite side of the street. I got his license plate number and report him. The police told me it is a good idea to change up my routine. He said we live in a world of terrorists and stalkers. Fear was created. I will now carry mace and possibly bring along my dog. But why? I run on a very busy street!

I have talked to my husband about owning a gun. I fully support people being able to own a gun. I myself would like to own one and I want to take shooting lessons. I want to get my concealed owners permit.

What I don't like about gun ownership is people being completely irresponsible with them. I think way too often children are getting a hold of either there parents gun, a neighbors, friend and are killing people with them. Either accidentally or intentionally.

A deputies 3 year old son from Clark County died on September 14th. He picked up his fathers gun and accidentally shot himself. It is an absolutely horrible and tragic story.

When I was little, my uncle was a police officer. He came in and set his gun down on the fireplace. I picked it up and came into the living room with it and was pointing it at everyone. Luckily nobody got hurt, but isn't that exactly how accidents occur?

Hear are so facts take from the internet on gun statistics:
Firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) owned by civilians...235,000,000
How much has this increased in the past 40 years?...tripled
[Combination of sources cited by Kleck in Targeting Guns (1997)]
What fraction of U.S. households owns firearms?...42%
What fraction of U.S. residents owns firearms?...28%
[Davis and Smith, General Social Surveys, 1972-1993, all figures]

Accidental, suicide, and homicide deaths by firearm

Total accidental deaths per year (all causes), U.S....96,000
Motor vehicle accidental deaths per year...43,000
Fatal firearms accidents per year...1,100
(The firearms accidents figure is an all-time low, even though the U.S. population is at an all-time high, and gun ownership is at an all-time high.)

Fatal firearms accidents age 0-5...17

Fatal firearms accidents age 5-14...121

Fatal firearms accidents age 15-24...401
Fraction of all Emergency Room visits that involve firearms accidents...0.2%
[Centers for Disease Control, all figures]
Accidents of all kinds (not just firearms) constitute the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, but the other four leading causes combined account for 16 times as many deaths as accidents. Accidents constitute a relatively small but easily prevented cause of death.
Suicides by firearm, per year...18.000
Murders by firearm, per year...14,000
[Centers for Disease Control, both figures]

Researchers have studied the figures on firearms ownership, firearms accidents, suicides, and murders, during the period from 1959 to the present. Purpose: To find out whether accidents, suicides, or murders by firearm increase or decrease as the supply of firearms increases or decreases. Result: The rates of accidents and murders by firearms do not show any relationship to the number of guns owned by civilians. The gun supply has increased and decreased without affecting the accident or murder rates. Suicides by firearms have increased when more guns have been available, but the total suicide rate hasn’t changed; when guns are less available, people find other ways to commit suicide.
I often wonder what it would be like, if I turned off the news for a month. Would I be a happier person and not so fearful or would I just become extremely misinformed? Why is fear created? Is it from the news or our own personal experiences? I don't have the answer. While nobody can control what other people do necessarily. I do think that as citizens we need take personal responsibility for ourselves and loved ones, we need to be aware of our surroundings and knowledge is power.

Fear Not, for I am with you, and will bless you. Genesis 26:24

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV). A spirit of fearfulness and timidity does not come from God. 2 Timothy 1:7

“In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11

Probably fewer than 2% of handguns and well under 1% of all guns will ever be involved in a violent crime. Thus, the problem of criminal gun violence is concentrated within a very small subset of gun owners, indicating that gun control aimed at the general population faces a serious needle-in-the-haystack problem.
-- Gary Kleck, "Point Blank: Handgun Violence In America"
As the Founding Fathers knew well, a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people.
-- Jeff Snyder
...Virtually never are murderers the ordinary, law-abiding people against whom gun bans are aimed. Almost without exception, murderers are extreme aberrants with lifelong histories of crime, substance abuse, psychopathology, mental retardation and/or irrational violence against those around them, as well as other hazardous behavior, e.g., automobile and gun accidents."
-- Don B. Kates, writing on statistical patterns in gun crime

Other excellent reading:

Gun violence in the United States:

Who are the victims of rape?:
List of countries by gun ownership:
List of countries by firearm-related death rate:

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