In my youth, I have observed many things about our society. I’ve watched us battle drugs, go off to war, and combat economic crises. As I walked down the campus sidewalk I looked into the eyes of other people. I try to imagine what they are thinking at that exact moment. If we make eye contact then they immediately dart their eyes to an opposite direction. This makes me realize that our society lives nothing but in a state of fear.
Our society is suffocated because of this fear that we put on ourselves. We live our lives as if we could die a horrible death at any moment. We take precautions that are extremely unnecessary, such as carrying a firearm. A gun could decimate a person. Why should we live in this state that we should have to carry a gun to protect ourselves from harm? Plaxico Burress of the New York Giants recently shot himself in the thigh with a firearm. This guy carried a gun so it would protect him, but instead it did some serious damage to him and his career. Why do we have to live in this state that in every single “dark alleyway”, lurks a man with a ski mask just waiting.
Its not just idiots like Plaxico that live in fear, its people like my own family. Our family locks our windows and doors at night to protect against burglars. This is sick. We live in a neighborhood that no one does anything bad, but yet we still lock our doors. The chance of someone breaking in to our homes lingers in our heads every time we go to bed. Every time you turn on the television, commercials are shouting, “You could die at any moment”. Those Life Alert commercials are pathetic. They show a peaceful little home, and then they show an electrical outlet catching fire, and the whole home was burned down. All this does is put fear into our minds.
My friend was working at a grocery store at night and he was gathering shopping carts. When he was walking back to the store an African American male was walking behind him. He immediately got scared, but once he walked in the store, the man passed him. This man was merely going shopping, but my friend immediately made the assumption that he was going to be mugged. Another incident happened where my friend was driving me to Best Buy, and this black guy flagged us down in our neighborhood. He was going door to door and selling magazines, and he said he needed a ride. Without thinking, my friend said, “Yes” and he got in the car with us. I immediately thought we were going to get raped, because this guy looked like a thug, but obviously we let him out at the street he wanted, and we were fine. When he got in the car, I was filled with fear, but when he got out I felt like an ass. This guy just needed a ride, and we gave him one. Why should I judge this guy just because he’s different? Why should I immediately become afraid? I believe that we should not live in fear, because it’s not necessary. It’s pointless to be afraid, especially since the things we are afraid of rarely harm us.
I’ve learned that our society lives in constant fear. We were terrified that another country was going to bomb us from the 40s to the 90s. We are afraid of terrorists, serial killers, nuclear weapons, viruses, the end of the world, and countless other things. I go throughout my life and think of our society as garbage. This I believe that our society always has to have a Boogeyman, and I find it simply childish.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.