Season of the witch: living in a time of fear

Halloween is upon us and there is a lot more to be scared of than haunted houses and creepy costumes. From international wars, to wars in our neighborhoods, to wars with ourselves, fear never fails to present itself in its many forms. Riots over racial conflicts, people being massacred in foreign countries for the sake of bloodshed, kidnappings, and psychological instability have thrown the world into a frenzy it cannot escape.

Recently, two lives were taken and three were left in critical condition after student Jaylen Fryberg opened fire in the cafeteria of Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington. As reports have continued to surface it has become known that he lured the victims (a mixture of his friends and two cousins) to sit with him at a table in the cafeteria via text.

Also, terror in the form of road rage occurred on Sunday as wife and mother of four, Perla Avina, was shot in the head by an angered driver who fired at the vehicle Avina was in, which was driven by her husband Luis Lopez Gallegos and carried their four children, according to the Inqusitr. The family was headed to the supermarket to buy food to prepare before watching the Oakland Raiders game later that day.

Avina died in the driveway of the house she and her family lived in when her husband frantically drove home to ask for help. The shooter has yet to be found.

What makes these stories that much more frightening is that they happened in scenarios that are hard to fathom. The five teenagers were victims of a person they trusted to be their friend and relative; a person they had known long enough to feel secure around; a person they were baited by into tragic circumstances.

Avina, the woman shot in an act of road rage, was out on a routine drive to the supermarket with her family when she was killed.

Tragic as these are, it is much more horrifying to think about the rest of the chaos people must endure when they least expect it.

These shootings are a sample size of the kidnappings, beatings, rapes, and killings that have plagued the year of 2014. Stories of these intentional and unintentional incidents can be found in any daily news source.

The spirit of Halloween has diminished as the focus has turned from trick-or-treating to casual events like horror movie nights and decadent Halloween parties, and with acts of violence like this occurring daily, it is hard to argue with those who may feel safer staying indoors.

Face it, Halloween has gone from once a year, to everyday. People no longer have to wait for October 31 to see monsters and deranged individuals prowling the streets.

And as sad as it may seem, these killings are far from the only fears in the hearts and minds of the masses.

It is custom to be afraid of many things in our lives: the fear of death, the fear of heartbreak, the fear of failure, the fear of loss, etc.

Then there are cases that lead the world to severe paranoia.

The Ebola epidemic has become the largest in the world's history, and it is an understatement to say it has America on its toes. With reports of the disease striking states such as Texas and New York, and with the media constantly spotlighting any possible sign of further spread, people have been left to fear whether their common cold may turn into something more.

Much less certain but nonetheless frightening is the talk of a massive earthquake, or the "big one", hitting the country much sooner than later. The thought of falling victim to such a disaster is enough to have doubts as to whether people are safe in their own homes.

It is this sometimes overwhelming sense of fear that can leave even the most fearless individual to second guess his or her next move.

Fear has the power to control the actions a person takes and the decisions one makes in everyday life. Everyone has their own way to cope with fear and it is how they choose to handle these times of turmoil that can determine whether they spend living their lives looking over their shoulders or straight forward.

Risk is a constant reality of our lives as humans living in their troubled sphere. There is no controlling fear, but we have to decide whether we want fear to control us. And while it is easy for someone to say not to live in fear, it can be painfully difficult to do so when it is being shoved in our faces.

One thing we can come to terms with is that these trials will not be stopping as long as we live. So as long as we are here, we should try our hardest to live a life, not without fear, but with hope that the chaos will calm and that the beautiful moments in our lives will be able to overtake the moments that leave us with our heads in our hands.

It's okay to be scared. It is our nature to be so. The important thing is that we garner the courage to push past fear, to take the strings off ourselves, and to live our lives the way we want to.