Via Goddard:

A new Gallup poll shows that 47% of Americans say they are worried about being a victim of terrorism while 38% say they are worried about being a victim of a mass shooting.

Meanwhile, a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds that roughly three in five Americans “said they were very worried about terrorists coming from abroad or domestic attackers inspired by foreign extremists… All told, almost nine in 10 Americans said in the poll that they worried to some degree about the threat of terrorism by extremists and foreigners.”

It really is crazy the extent to which Americans will fear the external threat when the internal one is greater. When I was growing up, it was the height of stranger danger. My mom had a whole elaborate password strategy and everything (at one point, as I recall, it was “banana”). But of course, kidnappings out of the blue are all but unheard of at this point in time–you’d have better luck preventing bad stuff from happening by warning your kids not to be alone in a room with a male relative. But the broader dynamic is almost infinitely applicable. Rural Americans who overwhelmingly blame big government and coastal liberals for the destruction of their way of life, rather than the folksy free-market Republicans who actually destroyed it, back during the Eisenhower and Nixon presidencies. Professional hawks who spend their lives fretting about the Venezuelan menace. And so on. So while it seem insane that half of Americans are worried about being the victim of a thing that has killed a few dozen of their people in fourteen-plus years tops, while thousands have died of gun-related deaths, it’s entirely expected. The terrorists themselves seem to understand it very well. And the media and the Right are ever-eager to exploit this dynamic (while the Left, of course, ducks behind a couch). Perhaps we’re just doomed to keep overreacting until our power finally degrades altogether.

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