It is why they will argue for guns in schools based on grizzly attacks, even though studies show that the risk of children dying from accidental gun deaths is much higher than the risk of bears. It is why they will argue a "pro-life" stance, but the mortality of women under pro-life legislation is far higher than when abortion is legal, and there is little to no change in abortion rates when it is illegal.
And this ofttimes illogical fear is why they have now instituted a ban of refugees and asylum-seekers from seven Muslim nations, even though since 1975 there have been ZERO Americans killed in terrorist activities on US soil by refugees from the banned areas: Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, or Sudan. The chances every year in the US of being killed in a terrorist attack by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 BILLION (Cato Institute). Let's take a look at all the things we are more likely to die from in a year (I'm getting the following stats from Insurance Information Institute, because they have financial incentive to tell the truth):
Assault by firearm (1 in 28,208)
Drowning in a swimming pool (1 in 485,605) #banswimmingpools
Fall off a ladder or scaffolding (1 in 752,688) #banladders
Earthquakes (1 in 9,297,907) #banearthquakes!!
Dog attack (1 in 9,032,253) #banpuppies
The irrational fear of immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers is driven by xenophobia as well as natural human biases. Recency bias, for instance, makes us believe small threats are a bigger threat than they actually are. When we hear about a plane crash on the news, it stands out in our minds as a threat, even though the probability of it happening is no different than before. Moreover, it is more dangerous for us to drive our cars than fly in a plane, but the trauma of a mass death by plane looms larger and more fearsome in our minds. Proximity can also cause bias. For instance, I once had a friend tell me, "You shouldn't use birth control X because my cousin got pregnant on it." However, the fact that her cousin became pregnant on birth control X does not change its rate of effectiveness; it only seems less effective to my friend because she happens to know someone who fell into the 1% of error.
It is irrational to weigh our risks based on anecdotal evidence alone, so it is important to temper such biases in order to make rational decisions. This is something we continuously lose sight of as a country and as people.
When we feel our rights are threatened, we become afraid. We cling to bias. We become less rational. And this is a human characteristic, not a Liberal or Conservative characteristic. Please let's not give up data, empiricism, and logic in the midst of this. I can only hope that the backlash against Trump and fake news can be the start of people paying more attention to data-driven action planning.
One last note: I heard an interesting thing on the radio today. Casting doubt on logic and data is a control tactic, one that is well-exercised by the current administration. If we feel confusion and ambiguity, we are more likely to make an irrational decision because our brains don't know what information to trust. False information then makes it more time-consuming for us to dig for truth, to discern reality, and we only have so much time in a day. We therefore are more likely to make decisions with our guts and intuition rather than by weighing hard-to-access data.