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the news making you paranoid? (2-28-0)

Note: the subject changes a couple times.

A plane crashes, and suddenly everybody's scared to fly anywhere. Nevermind that hundred or thousands (or however many it is) of planes reach their destinations daily, nevermind that your chances of dying in a car crash are a hell of a lot higher than your chances of dying in a plane crash. They turn what sure enough is a tragedy, but only really a tragedy for those involved, into some huge thing. They make reports on flight safety, on the upkeep of the planes that until one (just one) crashed were considered safe enough for plenty of people. They give us enough detail that we feel bad for the passengers and their families, and drag us into the story, then shove enough bullshit down our throats that we believe that flying anywhere we're just gonna fall out of the sky and die. Like anything would be that simple.

Subject change:

There are predators online. Sure, fine, there's a few. And, compared to the amount of people who get online everyday, there are only a FEW who are out there preying on anybody. Most people online, regardless of any news report, are pretty much who they say they are. Sure, they've probably got a little more confidence in this faceless world, or their personality may be a little different than it might seem if you met them in person. But, guess what. They're still the same damn person in real life that they are online. And yet, the media would have us believe that nobody's safe online. Your kid's online? Oh my god, how could you be so irresponsible. That best friend they made in that chatroom could be a serial killer or a child molester or something worse. Yeah, maybe. Or, he could be the best damn person they've ever had the chance of meeting, and you're media induced paranoia's just gonna ruin any chance of something good. Closed minds, and a word here and there about how there's a few people out there preying on your kids, and you'd think every single person online is out to get at your kids, out to get at you. Should you be careful? Sure. Should you shut yourself off from talking to people online because you heard a story about some girl who got raped and killed by a guy she met online? No. Just use some common sense. People are who people are. They're no more dangerous online than they are in real life. You could just as easily be raped or killed by that guy who walked past out on the street yesterday, or that guy you work with, or your uncle, or your cousin, or you father, your mother, your sister, your brother, your best friend. People are people. Online, they are still the same people. And, no matter how much you think you can lie online, no lie can be sustained through conversation after conversation after conversation, unless you allow it. And, I don't mean you're doing it consciously. I just mean, some people accept a person's word a bit too easily. Some people are too trusting. But, guess what. It's still not different online than it is in real life when it gets right down to it. If you can read people in real life, you can read people online. If you are too trusting in real life, then you'll be too trusting online, and you'll be just as much in risk of being raped and killed by a stranger posing as a friend as you would be in real life. It's all the same. Even though I differentiate between online and real life, you know what--online IS real life. I know plenty of people who live more online than anywhere in the "real world." I know plenty of people who have more and better friends online than in the "real world." I know people who've fallen in love online. And, I even indirectly know someone who got raped by a guy she met online (by the way, I know a hell of a lot more who've been raped by guys they knew in real life).

Subject change:

A boy takes a gun to school, shoots some of his fellow students. At another school, another boy does the same. At another school, another does it. At another, another. Another, another. An epidemic right? It's never gonna end. What will we do? Will be ban violence on tv or in movies? Will be get rid of first person shooter games, or any other violent games? Will we put metal detectors at the entrances to our schools? Will we ban all handguns? Will we start locking up parents for what their kids do? What amount of legislation is gonna save us? Oh, media, help us, tell us what to do. Show us where we went wrong, who or what to blame.

Or, maybe, there's no epidemic. Maybe there's no connection between these school shootings. Maybe the media just needs it's bigger story, so the little ones, the individual incidents don't get lost in the midst of all the other crap, the car chases, the dead babies found in dumpsters, the out of control weather (storm watch 2000?!? it's just rain, for god's sake), or any of those other stories that they seem to plaster all over the place for us every damn day. Imagine you're the media. And, you need to keep the people interested. You can't just report one little school shooting, or one car chase, or one plane crash, or one online predator, or even one little rainstorm. You've got to make it bigger, bigger and better. You've got to create an epidemic of teenage boys turning violent. You've got to create "road rage." You've got to make as if planes are falling out of the sky right and left. You've got to scare every parent from letting any kid from entering that den of predators called the internet. And, you've even got to make as if any rainstorm is part of some huge weather conspiracy against mankind.

Or, something like that.

So, the question:

Why do we keep putting up with it? Why do we embrace these so-called epidemics? Why do we let the media make us swallow such drivel? Are we just naturally paranoid, and they're giving us the excuse we want and need to act how we want to act anyway? Are we so untrusting of our fellow man, that we'll believe anything, that we'll jump at the chance to suspect him of something? Are we just frightened? Or, have we given the media such power over us that it doesn't even matter what we are anymore?