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Identity Theft: How to Build a Hype

How to build a hype:

1. Read a Bureau of Justice Statistics Report, which finds that:

6.7% of U.S. adults were on the receiving end of “identity theft” last year, but this definition includes “attempted misuse” that was unsuccessful, and the most common way adults found out about such activity was to be contacted by [...]

While Gun Deaths Decline and Schools Remain Safe, Americans Flip Out

The National Rifle Association has been using the death of a small number of children to try and mandate the use of armed guards in every school across the country. Not coincidentally for a group funded by gun manufacturers, that would require school districts everywhere to buy a large number of guns. But is such [...]

Picture of a Panic: Fear of Crime and Actual Crime

The Gallup Poll does a great job of juxtaposing two trends. On the one hand, we have Americans who are consistently convinced each year that crime has worsened compared to the year before:

And on the other hand, we have actual crime report data from the Department of Justice, which shows that violent crime [...]

Behind the Footnotes, Jamestown Satanic Panic Founded in a Deluded Evangelical Zeal

Satanic Panic by Jeffrey S. Victor is a great book for its empirical thoroughness, tracking the spread of rumors about Satanic cults across the United States in the 1980s, documenting a complete lack of evidence for actual cult activity, and working to explain how an utterly fictitious threat could have aroused a vivid campaign of [...]

As Fundamentalists Fume, Remember America’s First Faith-Based Initiative

The current symbolic aim of America’s Christian fundamentalists is to declare Islam and Muslims the enemy of America to be defeated. The current fundamentalist Christian rallying cry is “no mosques in America!” If the fundamentalists succeed, those who are members of the right religion will get to keep on building their houses of worship in [...]

New York Times Exclusive News Flash on Times Square:

NEWSPAPER EMPLOYS PANICKY REPORTER

On visiting Times Square for a movie with his daughter:

As a parent, I confronted a new calculation. Asymmetric warfare had advanced from downtown to Midtown, from 2001 to the present moment.

As a reporter I had covered the aftermath of 9/11 and now found myself revisiting long-buried worries. I decided [...]

North Korea Is The New Swine Flu

We must not go to war. For one thing, we can’t go to war. Thanks to Barack Obama’s decision to keep Americans in Iraq with a slow withdrawal, and to add new American soldiers to the fighting in Afghanistan, we don’t have the sufficient military force for an invasion and occupation of North Korea. [...]

Maybe It's Better To Get The Swine Flu Now

If you’re worried about swine flu killing you, then the rational thing to do seems to be to keep your face mask off, and get sick with this virus as soon as you can, before it has the chance to mutate into something nastier. [...]

The Pollution of Swine Flu

If we really care about preventing people from dying of respiratory illness, and we’re not just getting a sick thrill out of the feeling that we’re in a crisis, then we’ll start cutting back on activities that lead to the unhealthy air pollution that blankets most of our country. [...]

News Flash: Swine Flu Could Kill Half a Million This Year, Experts Say

… if it is like the regular old garden variety flu. [...]

Americans Not Freaking Out About Swine Flu

Perhaps this virus will visit plague upon us, as some Rapture Ready Americans are hoping. My guess is that we’re mostly going to be just fine. [...]