Addiction to adrenalin is so prevalent in our culture. On a global level governments gain power by giving the illusion of safety from perceived threat. Bush is currently 'protecting' us from terrorism. Historically mass hysteria has been about AIDS, reds under the bed, the cold war...aliens (that one hasn't been used for a while). Groups of people such as those 'with middle eastern appearance' are scapegoated creating the illusion that crime is being eradicated.
Currently the campus shooting in Virginia is interesting in terms of response. Many Americans believe it is their right to use guns to protect themselves and that the shooting would have been prevented if more students owned guns. Thankfully there is now a move towards tighter restriction on gun sales.
On a personal level I try to maintain clear sighted amidst the chaos; to notice the hysteria and manipulation without being hooked into paranoia myself. This requires a deep commitment to peace that requires daily tending. We internalise the chaos. Mentally replaying an uncomfortable argument over and over attempting to find a solution or place blame increases the fear and hostility towards our selves and other people. There are many methods for maintaining inner resolve such as yoga, tuning in through meditation, sharing our truths (see PostSecret) and other means of dissolving isolation by doing the processes such as one called 'The Work' by Byron Katie which helps us to disengage from negative thought spirals, allowing ourselves to exist with greater goodness and faith.
I am not interested in magic cures or medicating or denying reality. I am interested in learning to have clean respectful communication within a community of likeminded souls.