This morning, four people were killed (including two children) when a van caught fire. The problem internationally is worse, as Matt Yglesias says “There’s a social convention in the United States that we don’t talk about those ninety daily deaths as a serious problem, even though obviously if we had nine people getting killed by terrorists every month there’d be a perpetual state of freaking out.”
I should note that there are allegations of foul play in the van burning (someone throwing petrol at it [?]). Hence, not normal traffic. That’s just the news that I woke up to this morning, and a lot of the news has been traffic accidents, a lot of them, sadly, involving school vans. In the time of terrorism the LTTE could hit one van or a bus and people would legitimately freak out. It’s just striking that it’s not the quantity or quality of death that matters as much as its cause.
We are really not mathematical, logical creatures. We’re quite emotional, and the reasons for things matter. Even death is not an absolute. There are reasons we understand and reasons that horrify us, as long as we’re not the ones dying.