What do Salem, the Rosenbergs, and Ebola Have in Common?

To say that Americans tend to overreact in times of stress is like saying Spaniards roll their Rs, New Yorkers honk their horns, and drivers with Confederate flags decals on their pick-ups support the 2nd Amendment.

article-2451403-18A3707800000578-728_638x546Overreaction Exhibit A: The Salem Witch Trials

Okay, a couple of tweens, Elizabeth Parris and Ann Putnum, throw conniption fits.

Next thing you know, 200 hundred people have been accused of witchcraft and 20 executed — hanged by descendents of freedom lovers who fled England and the horrors of the “Anglican Inquisition” so they could practice religion in “their own way.”

Overreaction Exhibit B: McCarthyism, aka The Red Scare:

Okay, a couple of Jews leak atomic secrets to the USSR; therefore, artists/Jews = witches, and the color red becomes anathema.

1863232_origThank God Jesus wasn’t working in Hollywood. They would have crucified black-listed his commie Jewish robe-wearing ass for sure.

Overreaction Exhibit C: The 2003 Iraqi War

Thanks to the brilliant choreography of the attacks themselves, images from Ground Zero bewitched us (in a way the collapse of the Murrah Building in Kansas City didn’t)[1], but scapegoating Saddam because he happened to be Muslim and prone to gassing Kurds hasn’t worked all that great. Just ask the Iraqis, the Syrians, the Turks, and ironically, the Kurds.

Overreaction Exhibit D: ISIS or ISIL (or whatever you wanna call those benighted medieval mother-daughter-and cousin fuckers).

Once again, theatrics. Beheadings appall civilized people, the way that Texas blithely executes minorities appalls Scandinavians. Executions are barbaric. On the other hand, you reap what you sow (see above). But let’s look beyond theatrics and do some serious assessments before we blunder into yet another[whatever the desert equivalent of a quagmire is].

7-ebola-apv2Overreaction Exhibit E: Ebola

By my anecdotal reckoning, Ebola has led every single newscast I’ve encountered in the last 3 weeks – NPR, the CBS news, MSNBC, etc. I don’t know if this over attention is mere fear-mongering for ratings or yet another instance of American overreaction. I suspect that the odds of my dying from stray pellets from a shotgun while I paddle my kayak in the Folly River are much greater than my contracting and dying from Ebola. I read recently that it’s not even all that contagious, that measles, for example, is 9 times as contagious.

C’mon, America, get a grip. Let’s go apeshit about something real, like the disappearance of bees, the drying up of our aquifers, the return of the Chicken Curse.

[1] No rounding up of survivalists for internment in Japanese-like WW2 camps.

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