Boston Bombing and Texas Fertilizer Explosion Effects

The difference in reaction to the Boston bombing and the Texas fertilizer plant explosion shows the powerful role that emotion plays in our responses to the twin tragedies.

Both were beyond a normal person’s control.  They both are random events from the individual’s perspective.  Logically we should react to them and respond to them as if the fertilizer plant explosion was the greater, but we don’t.

Until the Boston Bombing was resolved, barely any national attention was directed to Texas explosion.

Boston Bombing

  • Terrorist attack – 3 dead; 175 wounded; minimal property damage
  • Given occurrences maybe we should presuppose the chances are for a terrorist’s attack every few years in US
  • Reaction to culprits. Find them, shutdown Boston for days.  Huge commitment of police, FBI, etc.

Fertilizer Plant Explosion

Mushroom cloud, from chemical plant explosion, forms above city from a distance
  • 14 dead; 50 missing; 150 wounded; immense property damage that will affect daily living for a long time
  • Deadly explosions are a news worthy phenomena which once per couple months in US
  • Reaction to culprits.  It’s an accident.  The company’s regulated.  Yeah, sure they lied, but they didn’t intend to blow a city up.  It was just an accident.  We’ll handle this under the panels and regulations that we already have in operation.

Psychological and Political Effect

The Texas disaster was worse in absolute magnitude than the Boston horror, but not unique as Boston bombing was. More media attention was directed to Boston because we respond to unusual nature which also is beyond our control, at the whim of a terrorist.

Thus the political impact of the Boston bombing was significantly greater than the Texas fertilizer plant explosion.


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