Here in the Catskills, Halloween is sort of classic. Eldred, New York is too small and spread out for children to go house-to-house, but our “Trunk or Treat,” with people like me giving out candy in the Peck’s supermarket parking lot, is well attended. The weather is usually appropriate, cool but not too cold, and it’s dark early. There’s enough wind to imagine you’re hearing things, but children here, playing outdoors, develop good judgment about what to fear and not fear. That’s better than many older people.
What do I mean?
Here are some things none of us should be afraid of.
One is widespread gun confiscation. It will never happen in the United States. There will long be debates on what can be sold to whom, and even on what the Founding Fathers intended as the spirit of the Second Amendment, but I’ve never heard of anyone in any kind of responsible position making a case for taking them away from law-abiding people. For that matter, I haven’t heard that from insane or irresponsible ones either.
Two is the effect of climate change during our lifetimes. Even if you accept the five-horse parlay that a) Earth’s long-term weather is getting warmer, b) a large portion of that is caused by 200-pound creatures on a 6.6 sextillion ton planet, c) such change is consistently harmful, d) our actions are capable of halting it, and e), no technology will emerge that will reverse or largely mitigate the problem, it is a slow process, and about as likely to stop us, in this half of the century, as a glacier.
Three, Ebola. There will be no epidemic here. It is barely more contagious than AIDS, meaning casual contact, unless somehow involving eyes, lips, or open cuts, cannot spread it. Containing Ebola is a good idea, since we don’t want to trifle with diseases so deadly, but few of us need to be concerned.
Four, statistics-based racial profiling by police. Civil rights matter, but until crime patterns are uniform across groups, police, and others, will continue, in the absence of other information, to draw inferences on what they can see. Two things coming up will help here – cameras on police officers to record what they actually do, and more and more legalization of marijuana, which will end much of what has been a silly “war” anyway.
Five, any and all worries about American inflation. With a $17 trillion national debt, our government has about the strongest vested interest in keeping interest rates low we will ever see. True, there is a lot of money out there, but where is it going?
However, monsters we should all fear, this time of the year, are political candidates who don’t care about jobs. Fewer give employment as high a priority as in 2010 or 2012, and that’s understandable, but all running for legislative office outside of, say, North Dakota should be aware finding work is a real problem for many. Hide from that kind!
As of last night, there is one more we don’t need to fear either. The man strongly believed to have laid in wait for and shot two Pennsylvania state troopers in front of their barracks has, after seven weeks, been captured. That was actually a local issue here – the whole scene was close enough to us that for a while Eldred schools were under special guard. Entire hunting seasons at some locations, cutting out not only local recreation but a real income source for many in these economically weak areas, and numerous community events, including trick-or-treating, were cancelled. Now, though, we can celebrate Halloween - with one less monster. Let’s do that.