Last week I lamented our provincialism — our small-mindedness, if you will.
Monday reminded us that no matter how small we might want our world to be, the world itself is shrinking all the time.
Whenever something happens in other parts of the world — and particularly other parts of the country — my first thought turns to “who do I know there?” For better or worse, my immediate concern is for those I know and love. It used to be focused primarily on natural disasters — earthquakes, power outages, blizzards and whatnot. More and more lately, it has to do with man-made disasters — terrorist plots.
So when details started to emerge Monday about bombs going off in Boston, my mental rolodex starting thinking of those I know in and around Boston — and hoping that they’re okay. I immediately checked Facebook and saw that my friends in Boston had posted that they were alright. That set my mind at ease and shifted it to my next thought — to those who weren’t okay — the dead and injured.
Like Columbine and Waco and Sandy Hook, Monday’s tragedy was the kind that tugs at heartstrings no matter any personal attachment — due to the scope and the human stories that are bound to come out into the light.
To start with, every media organization across the country will try to find a way to personalize the story — starting with notes on those we knew who were running the marathon … and people who had lived here — wherever your here may be — but have since moved to Boston.
Barring any tragic details from “our own” emerging from Boston, we’ll focus on personal accounts of the injured and dead — to the point where we think we really did know these people.
With last week’s passing of Annette Funicello and Margaret Thatcher, I noted to myself that as I get older “celebrity” deaths seem more personal. They strike me in a way in which they didn’t when I was younger. I’ve grown to “know” these people.
Over the next several days and weeks, we’ll grow to “know” the victims of Monday’s horrible attacks. And our world will shrink just a little bit more.
Last week, I said we were all Buffalonians. This week, we’re all from Boston.
Thoughts and prayers.
Follow Scott Leffler on twitter @scottleffler.