I had a kid tell me today that he almost didn't come to school because of swine flu. Several other kids echoed this. Seriously.
Now obviously, what most of them mean is that they told their parents, "I don't want to go to school" and their parents asked, "why not?" and the kids responded, "umm..... swine flu?" because the mostly just wanted some excuse. And of course, swine flu is a big deal in Mexico.
But it's amazing to me the things we care about and the things we totally ignore. 20 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with swine flu (none in DC, Maryland, or Virginia) and only one has required hospitalization. And think about how many news stories have been written on this topic. Now this question: how many DCPS students have been killed this year alone? Which problem deserves a press release?
Update: I tried looking up how many students in DCPS have been killed this year (or any given year). Couldn't find it. In fact, the only urban school district that I could find the information for was Chicago Public Schools, which has seen 28 students killed so far this school year. It's interesting (sad? infuriating?) to think about which types of numbers make news, and which don't.
Another Update: So after school today I was watching TV at the gym (don't be impressed -- I walked at a fast clip for like 20 minutes before going home, drinking a beer, and eating ice cream) and I saw that there are now like hundreds of cases of swine flu. So apparently this thing is a big deal. My bad. Still, I'd like to think that there's a point to be made in asking why the flu gets more coverage than the violence the plagues our city. Right?
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