Steve Chapman: Inflated Fears of Ebola and Terrorism


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Americans are living under a dire threat that could quickly escalate into a national emergency. No, not Ebola or the Islamic State but the hugely overhyped fear of them. The public resembles one of those cartoon elephants perched on a chair in trembling terror of a mouse.

Ebola has killed one person in the United States, which is one more than the Islamic State has killed. But Americans spooked by horrific tales and ominous images are responding as though mass death looms before us.

A Washington Post poll found that 43 percent of Americans are "very worried" or "somewhat worried" that they or their immediate family members will contract Ebola. In a CNN poll, 45 percent described the Islamic State as a "very serious" threat. Humorist Andy Borowitz says CNN's new slogan is "Holy Crap, We're All Gonna Die."

But, as Steve Chapman writes, Americans have a way of letting their fears get the best of them. That's where things get truly scary.