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Should this week hurt as much as Autumn 2001?

April 18, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
Were you emotionally moved by Tuesday’s Boston Marathon bombings the same way you were in September of 2001?

I wasn’t, and I got kind of worried Wednesday evening that it wasn’t right.

I truly was getting a little worried after the Boston Marathon bombings that I was having no real emotion about it at all. It was a news story. A big, bold, bad one.

And a little more worried after Ricin Guy’s stuff started arriving in the postal screening centers in Washington. I felt nothing, though I blamed it on wondering just how serious I’m supposed to take an Elvis impersonator mailing hate mail to Congress and Obama.

I remembered feeling a whole lot of something back at the end of the day on Sept. 11, 2001, after work was done and the specter of a changed world smacked me in the face on the way from the car to the front door.

And I remember watching the then-new news crawlers on the TV networks going on and on about the deadly anthrax mailers that fall. And back then I was a little worried about going to the mailbox.

And then a house in my neighborhood blew up, intentionally set off by a guy with some issues, barely a month after Sept. 11. All of those hurt a lot at the time.

But this week, nothing. Nothing at all. Just stories getting done, headlines written and off to the next round. Yes, a little anger, and empathy for the families of the injured and the dead, but not stop-and-weep like back in 2001.

How many shootings, bombings and so on does it take before the average American stops really paying attention or worrying about it? Is it possible for the population at large to become as numb as first-responders and police officers do to scenes of crime and accidents and mayhem?

The Boss (wife, not editor) said Wednesday night I seemed “preoccupied.” Not that I knew of, but maybe I was.

Then came the fertilizer plant blast in West, Texas.

That one hit home and woke me up again.

I cannot fathom waking up one morning and seeing four square blocks of any town around here missing, levelled in a factory explosion. That house blast in Toronto back in 2001 was emotionally and physically close enough.

And the thought that a small town’s group of volunteer firefighters were on the scene, doing their jobs when the Texas blast occurred yanks at my emotions, too.

This week has been an eerie replay of the fall of 2001, in a little smaller scale.

The emotions just aren’t as open and raw.

And maybe that’s OK.

After all, we’ve been through this all before, haven’t we?


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