The stories are West Virginia, but their analogs are everywhere.
A week ago in Taylor County (just to the south of us), there was an MVA (motor vehicle accident), a head-on, on Route 50. A car containing 4 high school students caught fire and burned, and while those passengers were all flown to a trauma center, they all died. Grafton High School and all of Grafton are having genuine difficulties coming to grips with this, especially since it is a small town in a small county (<20,000). Everyone who responded to this emergency - the Sheriff himself and numerous deputies, the prosecuting attorney himself, the emergency squad people, both fire departments, and the state police - knew these people or their parents or friends. The EMS grapevine has described the scene as well-managed and efficiently run, and the victims received optimal care under the circumstances.
So far, I have not heard one damn word about the people who worked this accident, nor about the effect of such a thing on them. Not a damn word. They are not whiners, they certainly aren't cowards, they are the people who do moderate to very dangerous things daily for their fellow man. A "y'all are doing a good job," "we're glad you're there," "how's it going?" or the like is appreciated far more than you can imagine. A note, a pan of lasagna sent to the stations at Christmas or the like is stunningly rare.
I can somewhat accurately describe those peoples' experiences that night, but trust me when I say that you do not want to read the details. The work had to be done, somebody had to do it, and we as a society should be very glad that those people were there.
Also about a week ago, a Charleston Police officer was shot and killed in the middle of the night while on duty. This was a subject of discussion and great sadness in the state over the past week (indeed, a good bit in our church). I hope that I don't need to explain our debts to police officers.
Today, I went on the website of "West Virginia's Newspaper," The Charleston Gazette. There is a link to a sound file of the radio traffic from the shooting. Silly me, I thought snuff movies belonged in underground porno. This is the worst prurience I can imagine, and the drooling idiots who are sucked into listening to this with some sort of lame justification that they are learning something are pathetic. Radio communications under great stress (any such communications for that matter) are harsh and emotional, and it is nothing but a cheap thrill, an adrenaline masturbation to listen to that. Shame on the Gazette.