Facts Not Fear

This is the second post of a two-part series looking at fear related to the hot topics of 2020. In the first post, we took a look at fear surrounding COVID-19. In this post, we will dive into fear associated with the tense political climate surrounding the death of George Floyd, the protests, and the riots.   Then, we will consider why facts not fear are the solution.

 

George Floyd and Justice

 

The death of George Floyd was inexcusable and horrific. It should never happen to any human being. People should be outraged that this specific officer reportedly had many complaints against him. They should also be concerned that this was done with other officers in attendance.

 

This situation is a reason to be upset. It is a reason to want change. It is not a reason to harass, injure or shoot other police officers.

 

The recent attacks on police officers could be because people are upset about what happened to George Floyd. However, it is very possible that his death is simply an excuse for opportunists to attack other officers. It is important to ask, “What do these attacker expect to accomplish?” Perhaps they want to incite fear in the police community and the community at large. However, the attacks will not change what happened. Again, we should be asking “Why?”   What is their purpose?

 

The bigger story, however, that has overshadowed calls for equal treatment is the hijacking of the protests by people whose desire is simply to destroy. Those people are not about justice for George Floyd. They are not about bringing people together. They aren’t about any positive motivation. Instead, these groups of people are simply trying to create fear, destroy our cities, and create division in the country. Again, we should be asking the question, “Why?”

 

Defund The Police

 

The protests have now created a movement to defund the police. It seems like an extreme act to undertake in order to correct issues related to racism. If the intent is to completely get rid of police departments, you might want to ask, “Why do they want no police?” Most law-abiding citizens do not want to get rid of police departments. They want someone to call when they are in danger or have a crisis.

 

Now, some say that it is a way to move responsibilities to other groups rather than to put pressure on the police to handle so many vastly different issues. This, in my opinion, is something very different than defunding the police and should come with specific proposals and strategies. For instance, if you want facilities to help with mental health issues, that is great. However, that would be an entirely different hashtag. Again, you must ask, “Why?” Why if you want a restructuring of responsibilities for more specialized handling of an issue, do you chant, “Defund the police?”

 

What is the real goal? Ryan W. Miller discusses this issue in his article in USA Today: “What does ‘defund the police’ mean and why some say ‘reform’ is not enough?”

 

Political Climate

 

Now every large company is stating how they are going to donate money or in some other way address the issue of racism. The “why” for these statements is easy to answer. It is expected and if they do not make such a statement, they would be considered bad corporate citizens.

 

Still, it is a sign of the political climate. Even individuals are only allowed to publically have “the opinion” that they are supposed to have. It brings us back to the question, “Why?” Why have people become afraid to hear opposing opinions? Are they afraid they might be wrong? What is their motivation? What is it about utilizing fear instead of facts?

 

Facts Not Fear

 

It is important to arm yourself with facts despite all the people out there that want to fill you with fear. As Jerre Stead, executive chairman and CEO of Clarivate, was known to say in his AT&T days, “Facts are our friends.” Indeed they are. With facts, we can be concerned without fear. We can also be conscious of the motives behind those who seek to instill fear.

 

In order to accomplish a fact-based life, it is important to deeply think about what is going on in the world. Ask yourself, “Why?” about almost everything. This means not simply listening to the media or anyone else’s judgments. Instead, research, research, and research some more. Look at all kinds of resources and dig around until you find the facts.

 

It is through facts, conversation, and working together that we can make rational decisions for ourselves and our country. Make sure you don’t fall victim to unjustified terror which paralyzes.

 

Why Fear?

This is the first of a two-part series looking at fear. We will dive into the hot topics of 2020. In the first post, we will take a look at why fear of COVID-19 continues. In the second post, we look at fear associated with the tense political climate surrounding the death of George Floyd, the protests, and the riots.

 

Fear

 

Let’s start by talking about the famous phrase “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt uttered the phrase during his first inaugural address in the midst of the Great Depression. There is great wisdom in this statement because fear limits us. And, it makes us more vulnerable to those who desire harm.

 

In Context

 

As meaningful as that statement is, far more can be gleaned by reading the statement in context.

 

This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.

Source: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/

In this more complete statement, it becomes evident that the reference was that fear was a major contributor holding the country back. Conquering fear was necessary in order to end the Great Depression.

 

Fear In America

 

These words are very relevant today as we seemingly deal with crisis after crisis.

 

COVID-19 and the recent political events have both induced or surfaced fear in America. Each of these issues is an important one to be addressed. Still, the fear that is being created does not serve us and does not solve any of these issues.

 

It is important to review the facts. Then, one must consider “why” fear is encouraged.

 

Taking a Look At COVID-19

 

Back in February (which seems like a lifetime ago) COVID-19 was first becoming known in America. Horrific stories were making their way here from Europe. The predictions were also dire. Therefore, it made sense to take extreme measures to protect the American population.

 

Flash forward four months. The medical community is now vastly more knowledgeable about the virus and its effects. The dire predictions have been realized and the curve has flattened. Still, panic of the coronavirus permeates society.

 

The Numbers

 

I thought it might help to look at some of the numbers from Colorado.  This puts them in a slightly different perspective than they are presented in daily counts. Let’s start with the most vulnerable – those over age 70. A lower percentage of total cases are in the 70-79 and 80+ age groups.  However, the number of cases in these age groups is higher proportionately than the population of this age group.

 

Additionally, the fatality rates in these groups are higher. Still, to give some perspective the fatalities to date have been .1% of the 70-79 population. It is slightly higher with a fatality rate of .4% of the people over 80. It is also important to remember that these death rates include all people that had COVID-19 at the time of death.  Some of these people died of something entirely different, but simply were positive for COVID-19.

 

In contrast, there are approximately 4.6 million people under 60 and there have only been approximately 400 deaths (less than 100th of a percent of the population) in that age range associated with COVID-19.

 

The Fear

 

Each of these lives is important. Concern and precautions are clearly warranted. If you are in a higher risk group, you may wish to take additional precautions. Likewise, if you are visiting an elderly relative or live with person with a deficient immune system, you may want to be more careful than the general public needs to be.

 

Still, you must consider whether it warrants continuing some of the extreme measures that have been undertaken and continuing the panic. Is telling people they should stay home still warranted when the reason given for the move originally was to flatten the curve? The curve is now flat, so why are we still strongly encouraged to stay home?

 

Somehow flattening the curve has turned into anxiety about going out of the house, a panic that everyone will die, and heightened fear in general. However, fear can lead to depression, cause people to avoid other needed medical care, and keep them from their families who they so desperately need. So, why embrace the fear? Instead, say, “No.” Then ask yourself, “Who is it that wants you to feel fear and why?”