You might ask yourself how the media gets enough fuel to stoke their fires of fear if everything is getting better. After all, we're hearing way more about violence now than we ever have before.
And yes: we absolutely hear more about these things than at any other point in human history. But that's more a result of instant communication than the ubiquity of violence.
In the 1970s, if someone was kidnapped by a serial killer, their coworkers might have just assumed that they skipped town without telling anyone. Now, if someone goes too long without posting on social media, within hours there's a search party fanning the outskirts of town, a search through a federal database, and a globally trending hashtag.
Most of us carry a camera connected to the internet with us on a daily basis—even in remote areas. Someone can take a video in rural North Dakota and someone in Manhattan can see it instantly.
The world is a big place. There are almost eight billion people in the world, and more than a third of them use smartphones.
And if there are a hundred crimes in one day and all of them go viral, it might feel like the entire world is going insane, even though 7,999,000 people were completely kind to one another that day.
That's an oversimplification—I know. But the concept is the same. There are fewer crimes than thirty years ago, but we hear about more of them, which makes it seem like the world is a more dangerous place than it was when we were younger. But looking at the statistics—and especially looking at the community around me—I am sure that it is not.
At the end of the day, it doesn't do to dwell on our fears. That fear will only fester, coagulating and hardening our kindness toward one another.
So turn off the news. Put your smartphone in your pocket. Go outside and get to know your neighbors. Do more of what you love. Be safe, of course. But don't worry so much. You'll be happier for it.