The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- Warren Buffett suggests that we buy when others are fearful. On the other hand, buying when others are afraid is rarely as profitable as purchasing when others are catatonic. So just how petrified are institutional investors, insiders and the investing public? The Standard & Poor's 500 has shed 125-plus points in 3 1/2 weeks. That is a painful drawdown of -8.75%, but it doesn't meet the standard of a full-fledged correction (-10%). We also have the infamous fear gauge in the CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index ( VIX). The VIX is getting very close to climbing above a long-term 200-day moving average. Yet, even then, panic is more typically associated with VIX spikes above 30, not 25.