Last Friday morning when I heard news that Tamalan Tsarnaev, the elder of the two brothers thought to be responsible for the Boston bombing, had been killed and that his 19-year old younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was being looked for, I thought that the story was pretty much over, bar the predictable ending.
It was obvious that these two brothers were amateurs, not going to any length to disguise their faces, or hide their identities, or even having a getaway plan. If they were professionals, they would have fled the scene and even the country or had some plan of concealment prepared. It was clear that the second suspect would be captured soon, since there was no possible way that a 19-year old could escape from such a massive dragnet. I did not follow events thereafter since the result seemed to me to be foregone and grim, with the most likely outcome being that he would be gunned down. It was a surprise to me that he survived.
But apparently there is a big audience for such things and the last hour of the hunt had a viewership of almost 42 million, which is a huge number by current standards for things other than the Super Bowl.
I am curious as to why so many people would want to watch this. What were they hoping to see? A shootout? I have little stomach for such things. They remind me too much of fox hunting where the fox is cornered by overwhelming numbers of dogs and horses and people and dies a painful death. Even if one intensely dislikes foxes, there is something disturbing in watching a cornered animal die.