Seven years ago, Barry Glassner, a professor of sociology at USC College of Arts, reported that, he had identified a collective pessimism and fearfulness in our culture disproportionate to the real dangers besetting us (as he sees them) in “The Culture of Fear, Why Americans Fear the Wrong Things?” (New York: Basic Books, 2000). He identified the “fear mongers” and the topics that at that time (pre-911) were the most disproportionately frightening to the real danger they posed: crime rates, deadly diseases, homicidal strangers, and sexual predators.
Professor Glassner’s aim was to help readers distinguish, “legitimate fears,” from those that have been, “artificially produced for gains of some sort by different people,” and he provided two clues to exaggerated fear-mongering: one being, “when isolated incidents are treated as trends, that often occurs and scares groups of people;” the second being, the real probability of danger from the risk.
Perhaps Professor Glassner’s most disturbing observation—more than that fear-mongers benefit—is that citizens are distracted from the less easily dramatized and harder to resolve complex and real problems. In an interview he said, “what is at least as unfortunate for the well-being of the society and the individuals within it, is the near-invisibility of phenomena that are actually much more common…Those range from what may seem utterly banal, like the fact that the greatest killer of children is unintentional injuries, a great many of which can be avoided, and a great many of which are from very common causes…”
In this same post-9/11 interview, Professor Glassner talked about relative levels of risk and concluded that his odds that year as an American citizen of dying in a motor vehicle crash were more than 10 times as high as his odds of dying from a terrorist attack. “This comparison is relevant,” he said, “partly because of the relative nature of the danger, and partly because the more anxious, fearful and distracted I am, the more likely I am to be involved in an accident, whether while driving a motor vehicle or doing anything else.”
It could be said that our children are more likely (at the moment) to be injured in a car accident than in a terrorist attack. In light of these ideas, the latest effort by BC Autoplanbrokers to remind drivers to be aware of youngsters playing in residential areas by offering, “Slow Down, Kids at Play” signs, for display in front of people’s residences, is very helpful. The signs are for display on the edge of residential properties, so that they are visible to passing motorists. (They are not to be mounted on public property, and are not an excuse for failing to supervise children.) They are made of weather-proof plastic, bright yellow with large black lettering, and are visible from a considerable distance.
To get your copy of the sign contact Westland Insurance at 604.261.3128 or any other Autoplan insurance agent.
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