By Jon Keller


BOSTON (CBS) – I know you may be sick of polls, and I sympathize, but over the weekend I stumbled upon a pretty interesting one. Don’t worry, it’s not about politicians.

Or is it?

It’s from a California university that asked 1,500 Americans a timely question – what are you afraid of?

The top five fears all seem relatively reasonable. People worry about their personal safety, call it fear of accidents; they fear future catastrophes like job loss or illness; they fear being victimized by violent crime; they’re afraid of the dangers of the internet, such as loss of privacy or identity theft; and people also confess to phobias, fear of tight spaces, the sight of their own blood or – I am not making this up – fear of clowns.

I warned you this might involve politicians.

Some of this might be called unjustified fear.

Crimes like gang violence and school shootings that have been in long-term decline are nonetheless perceived as more rampant now than 20 years ago. Thanks, popular culture!

But don’t call those fears “irrational.” It’s not irrational for people to fear the power of nature, the random bad break, the predators, and at least some of the clowns.

The New York Times had a long article Sunday detailing the blunders that hospital in Dallas and federal health officials made in connection with the nation’s first Ebola outbreak, and it’s quite a parade of smug bureaucrats thinking they had their act together when they did not.

A lot of altruistic people are working overtime to clean up that act, and we all thank them for it. But don’t finger-wag too hard to folks who say they fear this disease.

They have every reason to.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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Jon Keller

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