Last week was Thanksgiving.
This week is fright-giving.
So with apologies to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s epic 1933 pep talk:
We have much to fear, including fear itself.
If you didn’t believe that 23 days ago, review the dread-inducing evidence that has accumulated since then:
A radical Islamic terror attack in Paris killed 130 people on Friday the 13th in November.
A mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs killed three people on Nov. 27. The accused gunman, who was born in Charleston, reportedly told investigators later, “No more baby parts.”
A mass shooting at a social services center for the disabled in San Bernardino, Calif., during a holiday party for county staffers, killed 14 people on Thursday. The authorities identified the mass murderers, who died in a shootout with police, as a married Muslim couple. U.S. intelligence officials said the husband had been in contact with Islamic extremists.
Police officials also said the couple left three pipe bombs at the center with a remote-control detonator that apparently malfunctioned. And the authorities said 12 pipe bombs, tools for making more and over 3,000 additional rounds of ammunition were found at the couple’s house.
Yet even Friday, many news reports about this massacre were still citing “unclear motives.”
Must we consult Sherlock Holmes to deduce a radical Islamic terror motive for this slaughter on American soil?
Maybe you also reasonably suspect that our Second Amendment right “to keep and bear arms,” based on a document written way back when single-shot muskets were in vogue, should not include a right to keep and bear assault rifles and semi-automatics — and perhaps even pipe bombs.
Or maybe not. A Friday morning caller to “The Morning Show with Charlie James” on WTMA-AM 1250 offered this armed-and-ready prescription to some increasingly clear and present dangers:
“We’ve got to take things into our own hands and protect ourselves.”
What about climate change?
President Barack Obama warned Monday in Paris that the representatives of nations meeting there on that subject must produce “not simply an agreement to roll back the pollution we put into our skies, but an agreement that helps us lift people from poverty without condemning the next generation to a planet that’s beyond its capacity to repair.”
Is he right? Are you sure?
Then Rush Limbaugh warned Tuesday on his radio show: “Climate change is actually a fraud. There is no warming. The temperature record has been tampered with and faked, and that has been proven. It’s all a ruse, folks, a 100 percent ruse designed to extract money from the American taxpayer.”
Is he right? Are you sure?
Maybe the widespread climate-change consensus of scientists, the Pentagon and a growing number of business big shots has convinced you, as it has me, that carbon emissions should be reduced.
Or maybe you buy Rush’s ruse that this global alarm is a left-wing fraud.
Enough gloom and doom.
Divert your focus from crazed carnage, divisive debates and rising tides of oceans and acrimony.
Lower your high anxiety by focusing on the big games today (The Citadel at Charleston Southern in the Football Championship Series playoffs) and tonight (Clemson vs. North Carolina for the Atlantic Coast Conference title in Charlotte).
OK, so scary sights even intrude upon sports spectacles.
For instance, a couple of hours before last Saturday’s Clemson-South Carolina game, I saw a plane above Williams-Brice Stadium pulling a banner with a Confederate flag and these words: “NO VOTES FOR TURNCOATS.”
That rated a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. After all, football players — and fans — aren’t the only people who shouldn’t be sore losers.
Meanwhile, folks wanting to attend today’s Citadel-CSU game fairly fear the tight squeeze at Buccaneer Field, which lacks sufficient seating supply for the ticket demand.
And Clemson fans should fear how loose the Tigers’ defense looked last week. The Gamecocks, seven days after scoring just 22 points in a one-point upset loss to The Citadel, scored 29 second-half points as Clemson hung on for a 37-32 victory.
That’s especially ominous going into tonight’s showdown against a UNC team that has averaged 50 points per game in the last four outings.
More scary stats:
Clemson went 12-0 in 1981 to win the national title.
Clemson is now 12-0 again — but will play three more games if it makes the Football Bowl Series final. Closer to home, CSU also will play its 15th game if it makes the FCS final — or if The Citadel gets that far, it will play its 16th.
Yes, the NCAA preaches “player safety” in football.
But over the last few decades, it has added to football player risk by adding games.
Then again, if college — and pro — teams played fewer games, we would have less football to watch.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.