Thursday, April 12, 2012

Living in Fear

I received an e-mail recently from a friend that had a graphic video attached. The video shows a man standing on a beach that is attacked and eaten by killer whales (Orcas) and is dragged out to sea.

It is pretty graphic.....when taken out of context. The end of the video has some wording along the bottom of the screen in Spanish. Translating the text informs the viewer that this is in fact a South American Television commercial that sells school supplies. Really, I am not kidding. The link to it on is here:

The wording in the e-mail that accompanied the video, which had been cut and pasted repeatedly along with the commercial, stated the following:

"The Orcas mistook this guy for a seal, but still, one minute you're
here, the next you're not. This guy was just walking into the water,
not even ankle deep, and two killer whales just snatched him. No
blood. No guts, No mess, just gone!! Very graphic! He happened to be
waving at a friend taking a film of him, and it was his last wave!
Suppose his friend hadn't been filming, or even looking in that
direction..... He was just gone in less than a heartbeat. Too scary.
He disappeared."

I have seen countless e-mails like this over the years that contain 'shock' value, or list half truths about political parties or candidates, or fuel the underlying anxiety in certain people.....and this has me worried.

There are only two things that can come out of this sort of e-mail. Some will dismiss it as bunk, while others will take it as fact and live in fear of ever going near water again. So what is the point of distributing it? There isn't any profit involved here (unless you speak Spanish and realize that it is a commercial, which most don't), and there isn't a message about beach safety, it is just fear spreading itself like a cancer through unknowing hosts.

Michael Moore touched on this subject in his excellent documentary "Bowling for Columbine", in which he canvassed two cities, one in Michigan and one in Canada, separated by a bridge. The Michigan city had over 100 murders in a year, the Canadian city had 2. The Americans all owned guns and locked their doors at night; the Canadians owned no guns and never locked their doors. The American lived in fear, the Canadians all thought we were nuts. All that physically separated them was a bridge, but what really separated them was a state of mind.

As I have aged, I have realized this. The greatest killer of our spirit, our drive and our love for life, is the fear that we spread amongst ourselves. There are unscrupulous individuals out there that feed on people with uncontrolled fear. They sell us alarm system, extra health care polices and plan out our vacations so that nothing 'bad' will happen to us. I can't help but wonder that somewhere out there in cyberspace, these people are pushing videos and emails such as these to drive the hordes of fearful and afraid people into locking their doors and buying sugar pills that will keep them from getting sick.

It all comes back to one of the reasons I created this blog....look at the title: "Hypocrisy - Question Everything"