The problem is that we are the problem. You and I respond to the media headlines that proclaim panic and chaos. They draw our eyes, so they gain our clicks. Not only that, but we add to the problem by looking for an empty shelf in the grocery store, Instagramming it, and describing it as “panic,” even when many other nearby shelves are full, and even when there is a whole truckload of food waiting at the unloading dock.
You’ve got to be careful reading the news at times like this. Media outlets have a vested interest in getting us to visit their sites, and they know the kind of words that will draw us. Today’s keywords seem to be “panic” and “chaos.” To read the news you’d think there has been panic at every grocery store and chaos at every airport.
There’s no doubt that there have been some moments of poor behavior as people have realized they may not be able to easily purchase some of life’s necessities. Hence, “Panic As Shoppers Fight Over Toilet Paper!” There’s no doubt there have been moments of confusion as airport lineups have swelled in response to stricter policies—“Chaos at America’s Airports!” But it seems to me—and I have been following the news very closely—that such moments are relatively few and far between.