Fear Strikes Out – Joseph Wilcox and the Las Vegas Shooting

Joseph WilcoxA fellow by the name of Joe Wilcox was shot and killed Sunday afternoon when he attempted to stop a maniac at Walmart. He wasn’t afraid and it cost him his life. Fear is an overwhelming force in our lives these days but somehow Mr. Wilcox managed to overcome our politicians telling us to be afraid and the talking heads on the news whose primary message is fear.

When the politician of your chosen political party tells you that those on the other side of the political aisle are destroying your country they are promulgating fear. When the talking heads on the news stations warn you of the evil that will be done if someone from the other side is elected they are promulgating fear. Fear and more fear. That’s all I see on politics. That’s all I hear from friends and colleagues. Those evil Republican/Democrats are trying to turn American into a Tyrannical government ruled by the rich/lazy. I see fear oozing out of almost every Facebook post I read. I hear fear in conversation next to me when I’m riding the stationary at the gym. It’s everywhere. It’s prevalent. It’s what the powers that be desire. It’s what they scheme to bring about, a mass of frightened people who outnumber the brave. When that happens were all in serious trouble.

Mr. Wilcox wasn’t afraid.

A while ago I finished my fourth novel, The Sword of Water. That’s a novel all about fear. It’s about how evil uses fear to try and have us give up our freedom, to convince us to hate our neighbors, and to drive us into giving them more power. It’s a novel in which a young girl named Silenia has two guiding influences. One who promulgates fear and the other who is the embodiment of courage.

When I was reading about the life of Mr. Wilcox I thought of Silenia and her fear and courage. The decision she has to make in my novel is not that different than the one Mr. Wilcox made. You’ll have to buy the novel to find out what happens to Silenia but we know what happened to Mr. Wilcox.

He chose to ignore fear and stepped up to battle violence and insane rage. While Mr. Wilcox may have died his spirit lives on. We must stop being afraid. We must stop hating each other. I’ve been all over this great country. I’ve made friends with small-town conservatives in Idaho and rural Missouri. I’ve made friends with big-city liberals in San Francisco and St. Louis. They have a lot in common. They want to do their jobs, make a little money, raise their children, and enjoy their lives.

You know who wasn’t brave? You know who lived in fear? The miserable bastards that killed Mr. Wilcox and two police officers. They let fear rule their lives. They were so afraid they decided they had to start killing people in order to save themselves. That’s fear. That’s abject, total fear. It’s not brave to walk into a restaurant and shoot people sitting at a table. Those who defend such deeds are frightened little children.

Don’t let fear rule your life and your decisions. Be brave.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
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Shark Attacks vs Deer Attacks

DeerDo you fear sharks?

Do you fear deer?

The concept of fear is one of the main themes in my upcoming novel The Sword of Water. I’ll be talking about fear in a number of blogs from now until it is released.

I’ve spoken to a number of people who fear shark attacks. I’ve never spoken to anyone who feared deer.

The number of shark attacks in the world reached an all-time reported high of 75 in 2011. Does that number make you pause before entering the ocean? Does it make you want to spend public money to make beaches safer with shark netting and other safety precautions? I wouldn’t think that you’re alone if it does.

Were you aware that over 200 United States citizens die every year in accidents caused by deer darting in front of their car? The chances of dying from a deer in the United States are significantly higher than those of being attacked by a shark. Remember, the numbers listed in the link are shark attacks worldwide. Attacks and deaths in the United States are much lower than the 75 listed in the article.

Sharks are scary looking. Deer are not. Sharks have nasty bitey teeth. They are top-level predators. They are scary. But, the reality is that deer are far more dangerous. Let’s be honest, last year more than 32,000 people died while driving and this represents a decrease! In 2009 some 37,000 people died from drug related incidents. These are largely not criminal drugs but prescription medication.

My point here isn’t to be an alarmist. Life is dangerous. You can be killed by a shark, you can die when a deer causes you to drive off the road, you can be killed in a non-deer related traffic accident, your prescription medication can kill you, you can be hit by lightning, or die in a fire.

The question to ask is if we want to live in a world with no deer, with no sharks, with no cars, with no pain medication? Do we want to trade the experience of life for safety?

The old saying goes that freedom isn’t free. That might be true but more pertinent to the world of today is the idea that freedom isn’t safe. Our politicians promise us safety in exchange for freedom. It’s a bad bargain. Anyone who offers you safety for freedom is up to no good. We live in an ever-growing police state where the government has the ability to watch us at all times, to arrest us without cause, to hold us without charge, and to torture us because we might have useful information.

I guess I’m saying don’t let our fear of deer stop you from driving to the park. Just know they could be on the road and be prepared in case one jumps out in front of you (run it over, don’t swerve).

I’ll be talking more about fear in the coming weeks and months. I think it’s an important topic for all of us to think about.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Hammer of Fire
Upcoming Release: The Sword of Water

Bad Apple

Bad AppleWhile reading the news I recently came across a story about how hugging is now illegal in a New Jersey School. Naturally the original story sensationalized the situation and a better explanation came forth. Still, it got me thinking about why the rule was created and how it reflect the United States’ plunge into fear. Likely a pair of middle school students were behaving in some sexual manner and this rule resulted out of fear.

This seems to me to be the root of the issue. The fear of a bad apple causing us to throw out the entire barrel. Not that raging hormonal twelve-year olds is something that should shock us but I’ll talk about this strange puritan-like fantasy we seem to have constructed in our minds when it comes to children another time.

This all comes down to fear and whether we let it rule our lives. I’m of the opinion that the U.S. has gone from a daring nation filled with courageous people to a nation cringing in the shadows afraid that something will go wrong. Not to say there aren’t heroes out there who are starting new businesses, taking chances, defending our streets and our nation, but I think on the whole we’ve taken a turn to the craven.

Maybe this transition from bold to fearful is at the heart of the descent of all-powerful nations. A nation with more to lose, more security, is one that would tend towards caution whereas the young nation with little to lose acts boldly. Or at least the people of that nation do so.

Fear is a tactic used by politicians in many circumstances:

“The people don’t want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”Herman Goering

obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue” – The War on Terror phrase

The Daisy advertisement was used by a seasoned fear monger, Lyndon Johnson, against Barry Goldwater. It worked.

But, it’s not just politics, we see this is advertising multiple times a day.

Drunk DrivingAnti-drug adClimate Change

Much of the religious fervor we see is based on fear.

Here we have Jesus Camp and here we have Terrorist indoctrination.

Parents are told danger lurks at every corner. We see glaring statistics like 2,000 children kidnapped a day! Horrifying at first glance, hide your children. Except that the vast majority are “kidnapped” by a relative in a domestic dispute and returned within a week.

I could go on endlessly how people with agendas use fear to control us but now I want to get to the solution.

Fear is real, there are things to fear, and you should modify your behavior to this danger. However, you should analyze the motives of the person trying to scare you and absolutely go out and find if the things they are saying are true. For example, the ads I’ve posted above. Drunk drivers do kill people, drug addicts do turn to prostitution, climate change … well, it’s not going to turn you into a fish! However, is the solution to never drive again? Create a ridiculous, failed, expensive, “War on Drugs”? Reduce your carbon footprint by hiding in your house?

How about you pay attention when driving, particularly on weekend evenings? Look into the arguments for legalizing drugs? Switch to efficient lightbulbs and dryers?

Don’t let fear rule your life but don’t ignore it. Particularly pay attention to a politician who tells you that the sky will fall if their opponent is elected. The next time you have a political debate and your counterpart tries to frighten you; look them in the eye and say, “I won’t be scared.” Teach your children the same. If your twelve-year-old child is touched inappropriately don’t tell him or her to stop hugging, tell him or her to scream at the person who did it and if it happens again report it.

If we continue down this path of fear we will eventually find ourselves as a bunker of a nation peering out over the edge unable to act or live. We cannot trade freedom for safety because the result is neither.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety – Benjamin Franklin.

Comment away!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist

Teaser – Bad Apple

Bad AppleThe expression goes that one bad apple spoils the barrel. I’m of the opinion that the fear of bad apples is much more dangerous than the bad apple itself. This fear is endangering our life, liberty, and ability to pursue happiness. I’ll talk about how the United States seems to be becoming a nation that lives in fear rather than a nation that conquers its fears. It will likely end up being a multi-part article but I’ll get started tomorrow.

Stay tuned,

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist