Jim Mastro

Writing, and all things in between

The Wages of Living in Fear

I don’t usually get too serious in this blog, but this subject has been bothering me for some time.

There seems to be an accelerating trend in the U.S., fomented with glee and abandon by republican presidential candidates and right-wing media. That trend is to believe that everyone lives in mortal danger at all times, from every conceivable avenue, and the only defense is to arm oneself to the teeth and be ready to shoot.

Well here are the wages of living in constant fear and paranoia (from ABC News):

Ohio Man Fatally Shoots Teen Son He Mistook for an Intruder
By Dan Sewell, associated press
CINCINNATI — Jan 12, 2016, 4:20 PM ET

An armed man who believed he was confronting an intruder in the basement of his home Tuesday morning instead fatally shot his 14-year-old son, who was supposed to be on his way to school, police said.

Police said the teen had headed to the bus stop but apparently came back home through a back door. The man said he heard a noise in the basement. Police said when the father opened a door within the basement, the boy appeared.

“He scared me!” the distraught father said in his 911 call shortly before 6:30 a.m. “I thought he was in school. I heard noise, so I went downstairs looking and he jumped out at me. …. Oh, God. Get here quick!”

The man told police he accidentally shot his son with a .45-caliber handgun. After initially telling the 911 dispatcher the boy was hit in the chest, he then said it was in the neck. The dispatcher told him to put the gun on the kitchen counter, then talked him through first aid steps and tried to calm him until police and emergency vehicles arrived.

The boy died at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Police identified him as Georta Mack. They didn’t immediately release the name of the father, who’s heard in the tape repeatedly shouting, “Oh, God, please hurry! Oh, God!”

There was a similar story recently of a woman who shot and killed her daughter when the girl arrived home unexpectedly. The woman kept a loaded gun by her bed.

When are people going to wise up and stop listening to the fear mongers? Picture here Senator Lindsey Graham talking about ISIL, fluttering his hands and crying, “We have stop ISIS before we all get killed here at home!” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ae7EXUSyhc)

Really? A few fanatics are going to cross the ocean and kill 300 million Americans? Just like that? What an idiot.

This kind of fear mongering benefits only the politicians who thrive on generating fear to get elected (with empty promises to make everyone safe) and weapons manufacturers who conveniently fund the campaigns of those very same politicians. See a connection?

When did Americans become so easy to scare? When did we all become so gullible and paranoid? Someone’s chance of dying in a home invasion is so small as to be negligible, but unintentional homicides like the one above are all too common, as are other accidental shootings, often by toddlers who get a hold of that same gun that someone believed was going to make him or her “safe.” Only a handful of Americans died at the hands of terrorists last year, but over 30,000 died as a result of firearm homicide, suicide, and accident. Few people seem to care about that, even though that really IS a scary statistic.

I’m not opposed to responsible gun ownership, but keeping loaded weapons at the ready as though you live in a war zone is a recipe for tragedy. Maybe it’s time Americans re-discovered their backbones and their senses and stopped listening to the spineless (or just cynical and opportunistic), frothing-at-the-mouth fear mongers in Congress and on TV.

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Author: jimmastro2

I've rescued wild dolphins, trained seals and sea lions, scuba-dived in the gloom under 15 feet of ice, done stand-up comedy, directed plays, and spent winters in Antarctica. I've been a biologist, professional dancer, laboratory manager, college professor, drummer in a band, professional diver, research assistant, photographer, surfer, and water skier. Now I write full time (except when I'm directing plays -- or surfing). Originally from San Diego, I now live in New England with my wife, son, and a small dust mop masquerading as a dog.

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