"… 43 people were injured, but amazingly no one was killed …"

So it was said on Minnesota Public Radio this morning, during a story on the Air France accident in Toronto yesterday.  While it’s great news that no lives were lost, the word “amazingly” struck me as odd in the sentence the anchor was reading.  It was as if there was a bit of disappointment in the fact that even though the plane split in half, that there was fire, lightning, rain, panic, and plenty of fodder for the “experts” to be questioned on (I just love our media:  when there are no more facts than have already been presented, fill the time by asking the same questions to one expert/analyst after another, providing them with their 15 minutes of broadcast fame) … no one died.

I’ve always found the English language both intriguing and amusing, and I’m probably picking nits, but since we are a people who are so focused on the words used (in spite of the meaning … or, maybe, because of the potential multiple meanings and our desire to know exactly what was meant), there are other words what would have had less of a “damn, no blood” feeling.  Such as “fortunately”.  Try this:

“… 43 people were injured and, fortunately, no on was killed …”

No “crap, it’s not a horrendous catastrophe” sentiment.  Ok, ok … someone could argue that “fortunately” is “editorialising”.  I’d argue that “amazingly” is just as much editorialising, but in a negative way.

Such is our species:  we’re drawn to catastrophe, and bored by fortune (unless, of course, that fortune comes in the form of a lottery ticket that we are holding).

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