You don’t need to keep changing your Facebook status to let us all know that you’re still extremely shocked and sad about the Boston bombing. Let’s just stipulate that everyone is shocked and sad, except the perpetrators and some other scattered sociopaths.
You also don’t need to see a trauma counselor unless you have serious preexisting problems. These tragedies aren’t yours. Don’t devalue the grief and trauma of people who actually have something to be distressed about by developing a case of self-indulgent vicarious trauma.
It’s one thing for President Obama to say, as he did Thursday afternoon, “Every one of us has been touched by this attack” and “Boston, you’re my home.” He’s the president, after all — he’s supposed to feel every American’s pain. But, when the rest of us wear it, the sentiment is cloying at best, and it’s often just plain self-indulgent.