The Boston Marathon Bombing has been the focus of nearly everyone in this country. With three dead and one hundred and sixty wounded it is nothing short of tragic. Trying to understand bombers isn't difficult. They're cowards who either kill themselves or expect they'll never be caught because, well, it's a bomb and most of the evidence will be destroyed.
But what gets me isn't the bombers out there, it's the tragedies the news people just gloss over. The Waco fertilizer plant that exploded a couple of days ago. They still don't know the number of dead and wounded but it numbers many more than the Marathon bombing. But it was an accident, so it doesn't count. What really got me was the news article I read where they said "at least it wasn't as bad as the boat explosion in 2005 that killed 500 people". What?!? And they continued with other fertilizer explosions where more people were killed. Crass? You bet! If you're going to write something like that, well, the bombing in Boston wasn't as bad as the Towers.
Yesterday the body of a dead baby was found wrapped in a sheet at the laundry where a Minnesota hospital sends it laundry to be done. The laundry called the hospital, they came and retrieved the body. And the cops? you ask. Well, they're checking it out. The hospital has since apologized and states that it was a still born baby. But you have to wonder how can a hospital lose the body of a baby? And how can the police just gloss over it like it's an everyday occurrence because, well, it's a hospital, they're entitled to mistakes like that.
And today's news? Four adults, all in their twenties, were found dead in the basement of their apartment building. They were all shot in the head and no weapon was found. The cops' response? This building doesn't have a history of crime. Well, I'm sorry, but it does now.
As a writer of crime fiction I find that it's the small stories that tug at my heart and make me want to explore the reasons behind what happened. Bombings for the most part are political, aimed at a government that they hate. But the small everyday crimes and tragedies are personal. And if you're writing crime fiction, you're trying to understand how this can happen. What pushes people over the edge? Why didn't someone care enough?
Do I care what happened in Boston? Of course, but I also care about a plant exploding, a baby's body seriously mishandled, and four dead children, because at twenty they're still children, found in a basement. Our world is a violent place and as a writer that is what I seek to understand, to put in perspective so that others might understand also. It's all I can hope to do as a writer.