Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Fearing Fear Itself: Pistorius' Defense | Lisa Bloom for NakedLaw Blog
"In the US, crime is sharply down nationwide, to 1960s levels. In major cities, crime has plummeted a whopping 64%. The drop has been even more pronounced in the South, where the Trayvon Martin and Jordan Dunn cases occurred. You’d never know this watching the American media, which fixates on gruesome crime stories. The American public remains deeply apprehensive about crime, all out of proportion the odds of its effect on our lives."
"If what we fear most is death, homicide isn’t even in the top ten causes of death for Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the leading killers are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, strokes, and accidents. If you really want to protect your family, be on the lookout for slippery and uneven surfaces in your home rather than threats from the outside. If you want to fear America’s most prolific killer, fear cheeseburgers."
"Fear is another way of saying we see others as lesser, as unworthy, as deserving of a violent response. In both South Africa and the US, that fear so often is racially tinged. The anxiety itself is corrosive of our national order, counterproductive in our struggle towards tolerance and equality, and too often deadly."
"We may demonize individuals like George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn or Oscar Pistorius, but that’s so much easier than acknowledging what we may have in common with them: suspicion toward our neighbors and a fear-based culture where guns blaze and innocents fall. When we question the reasonableness of shooters’ fears – and our own — we begin to get at the root cause of a great deal of gun violence, and we can ultimately save lives."