05/13/2013 02:05 pm ET Updated Jul 13, 2013

Putting Boston in Perspective


It's now been just a few days since CNN put an end to their live coverage in Boston. The entire time, I've been critical, and have taken some pretty enormous hits. I've been called insensitive, a terrible person, and some other things that I bet my editors will be quick to remove.

But I can't help it. I cannot help but feel uncomfortable when every American flag in sight is being flown at half-staff, when dozens of people are dying everyday from gun violence and no one ever hears about it. I cannot help but feel uncomfortable when the indiscriminate death of four people -- rightfully so -- sparks a national outcry, but we are simultaneously willing to see thousands of innocent Afghans fall for a decade and rarely question why.

People call me callous, and tell me I'm displaying a disregard for human life. But they're wrong. It's a statistical reality that this country's reaction to the Boston bombings -- through the media, the public, and even the president -- was incredibly disproportionate. To suggest otherwise is to betray an enormous lack of perspective that inherently -- even without intention -- disrespects the thousands of deaths that apparently were not worthy of our attention.

Questions still remain regarding what we knew about the suspects, and whether we used our resources properly. But one thing is for certain: this was a tough one to prevent. So what is it about the bombings that so vibrantly caught our attention? There are thousands of deaths everyday that could easily be prevented, but for which we display no similar outrage or energy. Why did we choose Boston?

I don't know. I'm outraged too. I'm upset too. But when our media chooses random deaths to focus on for weeks; when our president chooses random cities to console -- that brings our perspective into question.

Sure, bombs don't go off in massive population centers every day, and even if it was just several deaths, that does not diminish the significance of the attack. But tell that to the mother in a poor neighborhood who listens to gun-shots every night, and worries about their children every day as they walk to school -- surely they didn't get a week of live coverage.

So yes, let's fly our flags at half-staff, let's drown in the media coverage. But don't choose winners and losers. Our reaction to Boston showed our incredible capacity for compassion and community, so let's not stop here. Let's fly our flags at half-staff every day that a preventable death occurs. And if that truly means every day then, well, so be it.