This New York Times article discusses the lawsuit against the administrator of the government “wrongful death” funds for the families of 9/11 victims.
Apparently, the families represented in the suit are outraged that they’re getting an average of only about one-and-a-half million dollars each.
Rather than suggest that these families are greedy (which, frankly, is tempting), I’ll nonetheless risk reader outrage by instead insisting that the plaintiffs are grossly out of touch with the concept of fairness.
The fact is, these families have suffered through the tragic loss of a father, mother, or spouse… none of whom could ever be replaced by 1.5 million or 15 million for that matter.
At the same time, though, I must respectfully note that similar tragedies — the death of a breadwinning loved one — happen every day in our country.
A father, killed in an instant by a drunk driver the week before Christmas.
A mother, killed in a stomach-churning murder by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
These people have left grieving families behind just as starkly as have those who perished in the horrors of of 9/11.
But there’s a critical difference. Unlike the families of those killed in the more nationally-visceral terrorist attack, the other families have no claim to significant governmental compensation of any kind.
Even those families with spouses killed in the Oklohoma city bombing earned, on average, less than one-tenth those in the Twin Towers attack. Were their deaths somehow less important? Less tragic? Or is the cost of living in Oklahoma City really one-tenth as much as that of living in New York?
All of this, then, leads me to ask: Are individuals’ worth based upon the quantity of media coverage that surrounds their deaths?
According to our government handouts and apparent lack of public concern over these issues, the answer would appear to be yes.