WHY do some things scare people more than others?
One reason is that people engage in a rational assessment of risk and conclude the appropriate level of fear. For example, people feel free to walk alone at midnight in Times Square but not in Central Park because they have made a rational assessment: Times Square, which at midnight is almost as bright as day and filled with people — usually tourists — is safer than Central Park.
A second reason is that emotions rather than reason cause people to fear something. Some years ago I was a guest on the television show “Politically Incorrect,” the Bill Maher-hosted predecessor to his current HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher.” One of the other guests was the late Christopher Hitchens.