Tuesday 23rd April
Am I the only one to be surprised by people’s reactions to disaster. In the last week we have had three quite extraordinary events; the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt, shootouts and arrest; the Texas Fertiliser Plant explosion, and the Chinese earthquake. The number of dead in each case was approximately 2, 15 and a couple of hundred. And yet the newsworthiness of the three was in diminishing proportion to the number of dead.
The Chinese earthquake was I suppose understandable; earthquakes happen quite regularly, and it is in China, a long way off. Compared to many earthquakes 200 dead is a lot, but one a few years ago, again in China killed about 10,000. And yet we hardly blink an eye at the news.
The Boston marathon was a particularly nasty incident, and the perpetrators showed no mercy for their victims. Luckily although a lot were injured there were only two dead in the explosions. As usual both the main suspects were gunned down by the police,though only one fatally, although one policeman did die also in the gun battles. Is this another awful consequence of America’s attitude to guns. It seems that both the criminals and the police resort to blasting each other at the earliest opportunity. Mind you it saves a lengthy court case if the guilty are killed by the police I suppose. Maybe it was the fact that the original explosions were at such a ‘happy’ event as a marathon that caused it to be so newsworthy.
Then there is the fertilizer plant fire and explosion where brave firefighters and innocent people died. There was a day of coverage when they had lots of pictures of the fire and the explosion, but the story has gone strangely quiet since, despite the large number of dead and the devastation. It is quite possible that crimes were committed here too; maybe more of negligence than commission, but at the moment no-one seems to be that bothered.
I just find it strange that the number of dead in each story has little relevance to the importance placed on it, not only by the media, but Facebook too, which was groaning with good wished for the Bostonians, but absolutely nothing for those from Texas or China.