REASON FOR CALM IN A TIME OF FEARS

HOW DO WE DEAL with fear in the midst of stories about pandemics, natural disasters, terrorism, and genocide? I've been thinking a lot about these questions. I work for a local government agency and spend time and effort on emergency planning and business continuity in the event of a disaster. While planning is considered good business practice, I was surprised by how much time various agencies have to spend on correcting false information. Many people call government agencies out of fear over what they have heard on the news or from someone else.

Recently, calls to public health agencies increased significantly as fears grew after a television drama about avian flu was aired in the United States. The show was fraught with inaccuracies, and exaggerated the worst-case scenarios provided by medical researchers, which, by comparison, were much less serious. However, mundane stories do not garner ratings. Even talk shows and news programs, while seeking to warn and prepare people out of a sincere concern for society, often generate unwarranted mass fear.

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'UNDER HIS WINGS'
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