“We shouldn’t be afraid to shop, worship or go to school,” reads the headline over a recent column from Jim Shaw.

Is anyone really afraid to do those things?

Maybe some, but are those feelings based in factual reality or just feelings?

Despite the intense (and at times downright ghoulish) media focus on mass shootings, not to mention the anthill of political loudmouths and celebrities trying to outdo one another in a sort of sanctimony olympics, millions upon millions of Americans shopped and worshiped and got ready for an impending school year without thinking even once that they might be gunned down by some lunatic.

Which is exactly how it should be.

Fear and hysteria are useful political tools, but when wielded by demagogues like Shaw we can usually trust that they aren’t grounded in fact.

Someone like Shaw doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about public policy and it’s relationship to how we live our lives, because for them that’s not what politics is about.

For them it’s a team sport, and a mass shooting is just an opportunity to score points on the other side.

It might be fine to let people like this go around shouting at clouds, but unfortunately their efforts contribute to misleading assumptions by the public.

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