Peace of mind

Today’s Globe & Mail reports that over the last 12 years, the number of armed conflicts in the world has gone down by 40% and the number of extremely deadly conflicts (more than 1,000 battle-related deaths) is down by more than 80%.

A different source reports that New York is the safest large city in the US, with serious crime continuing to drop.

And it’s much harder to get sick from bad sushi, too. (has to do with aggressive refrigeration.)

So, what’s going on? Why is everyone so tense?

The internet doesn’t help. Today, bad news anywhere in the world shows up in your browser in seconds. Second, there are people making a full time living (and increasing their power) by scaring us (and not just on Halloween). And lastly, it’s human nature. Vivid images have more impact on us than cold statistics. If I had accompanied this post with a picture of someone in a gutter, the 80% decrease in serious wars over a decade would quickly be forgotten.

Optimism is hard. But it’s usually worth it.