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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Thursday, July 14

Fear and other reactions to bombings

I'm not particularly brave, as far as I can tell, but I can't seem to feel particularly afraid about the bombings. It's not just because it's 5000 miles away. It doesn't feel so far away when I have friends who live reasonably close. I think part of it is feeling like there's nothing in particular I know to do to prevent it happening to me except perhaps move as far away from other people as possible. Quality of life means more to me - I don't want to be isolated from all the cool people I could be meeting. I think the other part of my feeling comes from think about it somewhat statistically.

Suppose it had happened in my city - Austin. Austin is much smaller than London, but if 40 people were killed and 700 injured, that would mean my chances of death are something like 1 in 12,500 and chances of injury are 1 in 700 (going by a rough estimate of 500,000 people here - there's really likely more). That does seem higher than my normal risk on a particular day, but it's just hard for me to actually feel endangered personally much.

I was much more scared of driving my ex's old '58 Beetle with no seat belts. True, my fear of the car could be a bit excessive, but I don't think it's entirely out of line.

I was slightly concerned about people I know who live in London, but I didn't really 'expect' that they were likely to have been among the ones hurt or injured. It feels upsetting still to think about people being killed, and I think that's related to knowing people in the area. Statistics aren't everything they just help keep things in perspective a bit.

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