Two tragedies hit the United States last month: the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15 and the explosion of the West Fertilizer Company plant in Texas.
Arguably the Boston bombing has received the most sustained coverage and speculation. One of the suspected bombers was killed in a police shoot out, his brother was captured.
After the first reaction of horror and fear, the public’s next reaction was to send money to the victims of the Boston bombing. Accounts were set up to distribute money to the families of those killed and to the more than 250 who were injured or maimed as a result of the pressure cooker bombs. It is reported that more than $26 million has been raised.
What about the vicitms of the West, Texas explosion? Fifteen people lost their lives in the small town, their homes, including a retirement facility were destroyed and dozens more damaged. The latest report is that financial donations to help the victims of the Texas explosion barely reaches $1 million. Some people in West, Texas lost their homes and businesses: everyone in the small community has been affected by the blast.
The events in Boston and Texas are both tragic and horrifying, yet the country rushed to give money to a part of the country where people generally have a decent household income. No residences were destroyed, a handful of businesses were damaged.
The Texas explosion left a 93-foot crater, obliterated homes, caused the death of 15 of its citizens and first responders and injured more. The difference in the level of financial response is unnecessarily uneven.
Was $26 million raised for Boston solely because it was a case of domestic terrorism? Any life lost to violence is deplorable, more so, it seems, when that violence is tied to our on-going war against those who will terrorize us? The victims in West, Texas, are no less important to their families and friends than the victims in Boston are to theirs. All 18 people killed in the two explosions were our fellow citizens.
The Boston Marathon bombing was the first terrorist hit on American soil since September 11. The systems put in place since that day have worked keeping us safe. Americans will stand strong and not cave. But when the unthinkable happens we need to react consistently whether it’s a cosmopolitan city or a small prairie town. No life is more valuable than another. —LAZ