For days now I have stayed glued to Time Magazine’s live updates of each development in the Boston Marathon bombing story and have checked Sky News at every study break I have given myself, ever since the first horrifying pictures of the bombing in the city emerged.
The story has quickly developed into a story of heroes (such as Jeff Bauman, whose legs were lost in the blast but went on to identify the suspects) and foes, with the bizarre plot twist that after hours of house searches, one of the suspects was found hiding in a boat in a garden. It was only this morning when the attention on the story subsided did I realise that while our eyes were stuck on the events in MIT, Boston city and Watertown, casualties were mounting up in other cities across the world much to our ignorance.
This morning the world awoke to the news that China had suffered a devastating earthquake of 6.6 magnitude. The death count of this atrocity at the time of writing this has already reached 100 people, and injured 2200 people, yet during an hour spent watching the news this morning, it seemed to only warrant a ten second slot.
It had seemingly been pushed to the back of our awareness by safety measures at the London marathon and images of Watertown’s residents bathed in American flags celebrating the final capture of one of the Boston Marathon suspects. Even events within America, such as the fertilizer plant explosion near Waco, Texas, in which the death count has risen to 14, have been given backseat attention to the events in Boston.
I do not for a moment want to belittle what happened during Monday’s events in Boston, just like the rest of Irish society, my heart goes out to those injured and killed during the explosions in a city I had fallen in love with two summers ago, and deaths of innocent civilians in any society is something that we must continue to strive against.
However, that is exactly my point. Let us not forget the Chinese waking up to a life without beloved relatives and family homes. Let us not forget the Texans who lost their lives on Wednesday, mostly fire fighters and paramedics putting their lives on the line to protect others. Tragically, both events resulted in the loss of more lives than the bombings in Boston.
We need not to look for explanations of “non-American” influence for why 19 year old Dzohkhar allegedly planted bombs among spectators at the Boston Marathon on Monday morning. Just like the tragic shootings in Sandy Hook Elementary earlier this year, violence is an inevitable but horrifying feature of every society across the globe and should be treated as such. Within hours, the shock of the bombs have been met with an incredible response from the powerful community of Boston, with exhausted runners sprinting straight through the doors of local hospitals to donate blood and countless Bostonians opening their homes to those left without shelter amidst the chaos.
I expect that Chinese and Texans will be forced to make similar efforts to mend their communities as we turn our attentions to do what we can to help them. Essentially, the media is a reflection of our interest in news stories, so let us dwell only on the events in Boston if it is not to the detriment of other communities that will inevitably need our attention.
This has been a tough week the world over; let us not lose sight of that.