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Too much good news to ignore
By Alan Caruba
There's always plenty of bad news to go around. Fact is, the main industry of the news media is to produce a non-stop flow of bad news. Frequently it is the variety that breathlessly reports the latest hurricane or other natural weather event as if it had never occurred before. Anyone who has spent any time on this earth knows there will always been storms, floods, earthquakes and other reminders that we are in charge of absolutely nothing so far as Mother Nature is concerned.
The other brand of news I truly hate is the daily announcement that something that we take for granted will actually kill us deader than yesterday's headline. The latest example are the idiotic regulations issued by the Food and Drug Administration to "protect" us from eggs. Pretty soon there will be a warning label on everything.
This is all about the expansion of government power over our lives. Very little of this actually protects us. Lord knows there's more than 20,000 gun control laws and the news media keep telling us (1) crime is rampant, (2) guns are to blame for all crime, and (3) we're better off without a gun when some guy in a black ski mask is in our apartment or home.
Guess what? Here's a June 14 headline from USA Today, "Survey: Record Drop in violent crime in 2000." According to the National Crime Victimization survey by the Justice Department, Americans experienced about one million fewer violent crimes in 2000 than the previous year; about a 15 per cent change representing the largest drop since the survey began in 1973.
Must be all those gun laws, right? Nope. It turns out that "most victims of violent crime did not face an armed offender. Rape and sexual assault victims were least likely to face an armed offender; robbery victims were the most likely." Need it be repeated that, in those states that permit the carrying of a concealed weapon, the crime rates are lower than in those that do not?
Surely, though, there's got to be bad news about cancer? Sorry. "Cancer deaths decline" was the headline of the June 6th USA Today article reporting that "New cases and deaths from the biggest cancer killers are declining." The experts tell us the "war on cancer" is far from won. Let me tell you it will never be won. We can celebrate the decline, but cancer, while increasingly identifiable earlier and more treatable, will be with us until the last human draws breath.
Do, however, keep the news of cancer in mind the next time some enviro-maniac starts shouting that pesticides, herbicides, and every other chemical compound known to man and G-d, are responsible for the horror of massive cancers everywhere. You might want to quote from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Facts and Figures 2001 that states, "Overall cancer incidence and death rates have continued to decrease in men and women since the early 1990's, and the decline in overall cancer mortality has been greater in recent years." It's not chemicals causing cancer, it's your family's genetic history of cancer, it's choosing to smoke and thus increasing your odds, and it's stress. Plain old stress will trigger more physical mayhem than just about anything else.
Ah, but the kids are out behind the barn getting in trouble, right? Well, part of the reason violent crime rates have declined is that young people make up a smaller proportion of the overall population. Some historian once opined that the most dangerous animal on the face of the earth was a teenaged boy. Still, that said, boys will be boys and girls will occasionally go for a roll in the hay, but the good news is yet another USA Today headline. "U.S. teen pregnancy rates plummet to record low levels."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the teen pregnancy rate hit a record low in 1997, with births falling fast and abortions falling even faster. The scary part was that, in 1997, 9.4 per cent of all girls ages l5 to 19 became pregnant for a total of 872,000 pregnancies. Now folks, as Professor Harold Hill (the "Music Man") would say, "We got to keep the young folks moral and what this town needs is a band!"
Had enough good news? Awe, come on, you can handle it! Here's one last piece of good news. "Homeownership is up in almost every state." According to the little news item I spotted last month, "Homeownership rates increased in nearly every state in the past decade, as people took advantage of a booming economy to stake a claim on the American dream." Nationally, 66.2 per cent or 69.8 million of the 105.5 million occupied housing units in 2000, were lived in by the owner." Here's the catch, in 1990, there were 91.9 million housing units. That means more than 13.5 million more homes were built in the past decade.
That's a good thing, right? Well, not if your local newspaper is screaming about "urban sprawl" and stuff like connecting sewer lines, a growing school age population filling up the classrooms, and awful things that involve people wanting-what was that phrase-oh yes, "the American dream."
The nerve of those homeowners! They don't want to live in some crowded city. Oh no. They want to move out to the suburbs. Let's celebrate the American dream!
Those crybabies who want to keep people from living in their own home don't want you to know that, of the entire landmass of the United States, only about 3.5 per cent is occupied by the homes, condos, schools, hospitals, shopping malls, roads, bridges and other accoutrements of civilization. The main reason everything seems so crowded is that the vast bulk of the US population lives within fifty miles of the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.
There is more good news every day than the bad news the print and electronic media folks will ever tell you. Instead you have to search around in the headlines that get buried in the middle of the newspaper. Of course, if you're just reading the sports or financial news, you're going to miss it. The fact is life in America is good! The Earth is fine!
Alan Caruba is the founder of The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns. The Center maintains an Internet site at www.anxietycenter.com. © Alan Caruba, 2001
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