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Reactions to Tragedies

Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck begins with a description of a sunny September day, a day which we remember as one of the most tragic in American history. Dr. Eric Wilson recalls what he was reading, planning to eat for lunch, and where he was when he learned of the events of 9/11. Fast forward four years to another American tragedy: Hurricane Katrina batters New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, killing thousands and causing billions of dollars in damages. Do you remember where you were during those, or similar events? Did you, like Dr. Wilson, find yourself glued to the media coverage? Instead of monitoring the coverage, did you wait for a summary of events? Or, did you abstain from watching, reading, or listening to the coverage? As we approach the 11th anniversary of 9/11, and as Hurricane Isaac followed a similar path to Katrina through the Gulf, are you following the coverage? Or are you refraining?

Category: Discussion, Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck

4 Responses to Reactions to Tragedies

  1. Lauren says:

    I am one of those people who have to learn everything that I can about whatever the thing is that is currently going on. So when it has been a tragedy, I watch news or check up online as much as I could fit into my schedule. It’s changed a lot in the last decade. After 9/11 I was watching TV constantly. Now I stay current more via social networking channels and Google News.

  2. Molly Keener says:

    Like Gretchen, I too have always found weather/natural disasters compelling. In part I think it’s because I am reminded how small I am, and how fragile life is, while simultaneously being fascinated by how awesome and mighty nature can be! The human tragedy and heartbreak pulls at heartstrings, though, and after a point, I have to look away…hard though it may be.

  3. Gretchen Edwards says:

    I have been particularly interested in weather from a young age, and find it difficult to look away from coverage of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and so on. I think part of it is that we [human beings] are fascinated with that which we cannot control. Some of these tragedies — weather or otherwise — are just larger forces at work. Also, with the advent of the smartphone, everyone has a camera. So in addition to traditional media coverage, there is now a seemingly endless supply of amateur videos to watch any time tragedy strikes. I think everyone finds it hard to look away.

  4. Hu Womack says:

    Tragedies have such a way of searing our brains, branding us with memories that even when forgotten, come back in an instant with the right trigger. I would be better off limiting my exposure to these things (like the media) that trigger these reactions, but like many of us, I have to look.

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