Why is it always the “First Responders” who get all the glory?  They come roaring in with lights flashing and sirens whining.  Showboats!

Are they really heroes, risking their lives?  Or are they just well trained professionals who do a dangerous job — and it is certainly a lot less dangerous if they are well trained.

Are there more truck drivers killed in the line of duty than there are policemen or firemen?  Statistics show that 26% of occupational deaths were on transportation related and most of those involve semis, tractor-trailer trucks, and tankers.  Maybe, but why are there hardly any TV shows about truck drivers except under extreme conditions like driving the ice roads.

So if first responders are not really risking their lives, how about a tip of the hat to the 2nd Responders – the guys who put down pylons around the accident scene,the insurance adjusters who have to walk into the burned, unstable building, the nurses who have to attend to the battered accident victims, or the clean up crew after the flood.

TV shows are digging down.  We see Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Chicago Emergency, why not Chicago Crossing Guards – the show about those who put their lives on the line for the most important snotty nosed, little citizens out there.  The drama of kids walking to school, mocking each other, stealing hats and running away – these are important life forming moments.

No, we humans seem more attracted to the unusual and life risking.  We fear the random, rarely occurring events rather than the usual, more threatening, and life endangering events.

That’s why marketers can drive results better with fear.  The murder rate has been declining in our city; in fact, more murders are committed on TV in an average week than in the city in a year.  So why the obsession?

The allure of the exotic and blindness to the common place fuel most of our entertainment.  We really like safe violence – where we are safe and people removed from us are jeopardized.  Let them live through life and death situations while a little adrenaline drips into our systems.  Our species has learned through empathy from fear.  Our TV shows, movies, novels and other entertainment help us learn of dangerous situations that we should be wary of.  That’s the inner appeal.

There is little entertainment from the quotidian, from the mundane, from the everyday.  That’s a source of comfort.  No adrenaline there.

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