March 18, 2015

Top Examples--Fear due to Insufficient Information

Nature abhors a vacuum, as my wise husband said.    If there is an “empty space” somewhere, it will naturally fill up—whether it’s in our intellect, or in the natural world. It’s a law of physics.  In this manner, our minds are likely to get supplied with negativity.  That’s why facts are crucial to ward off anxiety.

 A School “Incident”

The two elementary schools in my tiny school district were put on lockdown today. At least five patrol cars and one unmarked sedan poured into my neighborhood flashing lights. For at least two hours, numerous helicopters hovered above the buildings. Dismissal time was delayed about an hour and 15 minutes. The house of the “perpetrator” was invaded and searched thoroughly by multiple officers. This dangerous man was then carted away to the police station. The only information given out by the police spokesperson was that a man had a gun on school property.

Who was this terrifying gunman? Was he a hardened criminal just wandering through the neighborhood? Could he be a gang member? No! I learned his identity through my daughter. He’s a typical student at the local high school who wanted to shoot squirrels on the property with his BB gun. (I’ll call him George.) I have known his family for years. He’s been to my house several times. George is a slightly reserved, yet friendly young man. Academics don’t interest him much; but, he is not a troublemaker at school.

The public had limited information about the event. Naturally, everyone believed the brief press release which promoted the idea that a crazed gunman was wandering on school property. Parents and students alike were terrified mainly because of the lack of details. They had to fill in the blanks themselves. There were multiple messages on Facebook promoting rumors and fears.

In this way, one unassuming student with a BB gun became two adults carrying rifles. I don’t know; maybe they were AK 47’s. Why not? My husband and daughter had fun exaggerating the incident. They suggested our family friend had tried to lob grenades, or plant plastic explosives, on school land.


He is a young man I met on Google+. Apparently, he isn’t concerned about having the facts about any person or organization before he forms an opinion. He believes everything he reads and hears regarding history and current events. I told him that the victors write history and the most powerful groups put their own spin on today’s happenings. He won’t listen. For example, he chooses to believe that religion is of questionable value because mankind has always perpetrated cruelty in the name of their faith. He doesn’t care enough to research the good works that people of strong beliefs are doing in the world. He wants to believe his own poorly-researched ideas.

My Conclusion

Some of us don’t care enough to discover the full truth about something before we form a judgment. This can lead to confused viewpoints and dread. We should look to the primary source when creating beliefs. The family and friends of the “gunman”, and the true followers of a certain religion, may be our most prudent source of facts. History and the media often distort the truth.

Are your judgments based in complete realities?

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