Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I know I may catch hell for this but I've got to ask: In the wake of the Boston bombing (which I have elected not to talk about), Facebook blew up (bad, unintentional pun) with people posting "I'm praying for everyone in Boston", "Pray for Boston", etc. How many people who put those sentiments out there actually pray?  I don't pray.  I'm not praying for Boston.  I'm not praying for them the same way I'm not praying for anyone else, not just to be especially spiteful.  I understand, as a society, we generally lack the words to deal with death.  That's a conversation for another day because we use euphemisms and catch-alls to talk about it. I drove by a local church who's reader board said "Pray for Boston" and I thought well, it's a church so that makes sense.  On the other hand, I saw several people post something similar on FB.  These are people that I know have no religious affiliations so it left me scratching my head.

Also, at what point does an incident become a national tragedy to be forever and ever memorialized? The bombing in Boston was horrible. Three people died.  It is getting lots more coverage than a bus wreck that kills nineteen. Or the bombing in Somalia last week that killed 28.  I'm sure there's an element of the homeland vs elsewhere. Anything that happens in the US gets lots of media coverage simply for that reason. Most people can't be asked to know where Somalia is, let alone what happens there. I can understand the coverage after Superstorm Sandy because that impacted tens thousands of people and had a final cost of tens of billions of dollars. There was a huge explosion in Texas the same day as the Boston bombing that killed fourteen people (so far, which is eleven MORE than Boston), yet I haven't seen more than one or two headlines about it. I won't get started on the fact there was another earthquake in China today that has a death toll of over 208 so far and is the latest in a series of quakes that are possibly triggered by man.  Instead, Boston has been inescapable on the internet, the radio, facebook, etc, etc, etc.

I suppose the bombing is getting lots of play for a similar reason that a plan crash does.  It's out of the ordinary. Bombing don't happen everyday (well, outside of Afghanistan and Iraq) so regardless of the size of the bomb or the number of affected, it's a rarity. It also sells headlines because it prays on people's insecurities. The media can feed the beast that is born shortly after an event. A beast that feeds on information, pictures, interviews, however important or superfluous and who's life the media tries to extend.

After events like this, especially when it happens in the US, it doesn't take long for the public's bloodlust to reach a peak. In cases like Boston, where the suspects flee and died or are seriously injured in a hail of gunfire and tactical maneuvers, the bloodlust is quickly quenched. It means that there isn't a wait for a trial, sentencing and a slow moving judicial system. It also means that there isn't any information gleaned, no insight gained, no knowledge that might prevent any of this from continuing to happen.

I didn't have a visceral reaction to this attack, much as I haven't for the attacks I see on international soils. I ponder the why's, the how's and the what next's. It leaves me with more questions than answers and mostly about who we are as a species, as a culture, as individuals.

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