Isn’t that just delightful news? The media conjures up terrifying scenarios of terrorists setting off a radioactive bomb in an urban setting and thereby not only killing many with the explosion but also imperiling the lives of many more people through possible radiation poisoning. Then of course there is the threat of exposure to radiation eventually causing cancer in victims even years later. This is the stuff of nightmares, something that we desperately want to see confined to television shows where Jack Bauer or some other hero can come to the rescue before the unthinkable happens. One of Laurie’s and my favorite shows is Castle, and that show had two episodes built around precisely this scenario.
Part of the problem here is that we are oversaturated by news media that is driven by the need to attract attention. After all, ratings and circulation numbers are crucial to their existence and to their income. You must get people to listen, therefore the more sensational the story, the better. The unfortunate truth is that when it comes to the media, fear sells. It sells big. So they naturally must find fears to foist upon us. The dirty bomb story is an example. A dirty bomb is really nothing more than a scare tactic. The damage done by a dirty bomb would be accomplished purely by the “bomb” part. An explosive device, as we have seen all too often, can do fearsome damage. But a dirty bomb using more powerful cobalt 60 material would deliver an average dose of radiation to people living within a half mile radius about equivalent to a CT scan of the head. It is not going to kill anyone, nor even harm them.
Living in fear is a miserable way to exist. Jesus did not die on a cross so that we could live out our lives in abject terror, fearful of the next awful thing that could happen to us. It may seem simplistic to say, “trust God,” but ultimately that is where peace is found. He is called the God of peace in Romans 15:33 and Romans 16:20. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.” Don’t we all want to be filled with “all joy and peace”? That will only happen as we trust in him.
Perhaps it would help us if we paid a little less attention to the news media and their scary stories. And it is probably wise to take whatever we hear from them with more than a grain of salt. It is helpful to remember the media will typically always paint the worst possible scenario, even if it is beyond farfetched. After all, fear sells.