I'm not much interested in the Boston Marathon explosion events. To my sons in Norway and Alaska, for whom Boston is right next door to home, and Copley is a recognisable place from afar, it may seem nearer, because it is literally 99% of the way home.
But we have had a death in our circle this week which will affect us more, and really, most people in New England have something in their immediate lives which looms larger. Public events are like the weather, or the sports teams: something that everyone shares with 5% of their consciousness. Therefore, the people who make their living by dwelling in that 5% common store are all deeply involved.
I wonder why the sports teams care all that much, and wonder if they are just exploiting the tragedy for PR. Yet I don't think so. They live in that world. They equate it with real life. They are not out in Sudbury or Scituate, they are right there in BOSTON, going past all the places mentioned quite frequently. The news people likewise - their offices are in the city. The city, the city, the city is the center. Norwood and Natick are peripheral. They cannot take their eyes off this, even if neighbors have death or destruction. To the politicians the picture is clear - what happens to them, or among them, is much more important than what happens in Boxford or Bolton.
So that's what they all talk about, as if that is obviously the most important thing happening. I admit, a few dead and almost 200 injured is a big deal. But the shared mentality is of the news, the politicians, and the teams combining to make it look more universal than it actually is. OMG, the kid was from Dorchester! Why, I go past Dorchester a lot! A BU grad student! Oh no! I knew some BU grad students once!
The President weighs in, and he should. He is also a public person, and when tragedy reaches a certain threshold, it is his job to effectively say "This is very sad. We will help pursue justice." This president does a reasonable job at that. But the threshold is deeply related to the local team/local news tribal bulletin board. A hundred thousand other families have had tragedies this week that have gone unmentioned. They just don't rate.
I don't much care about it all, except as a phenomenon I can observe in the abstract.