A DIFFICULT START TO THE SEMESTER. David Tufte's Voluntary Xchange has been covering an airplane crash in which ten people, five with connections to Southern Utah University, died. One post notes,

When you don't live in a small town, the scale of the problem is hard to grasp.

Some arithmetic shows that the death rate is 60% higher than that in the World Trade Center attack: 10 people dying out of Cedar's micropolitan population of 43,526 is the same proportion as the final toll of 2,750 in the World Trade Center attack is to 11,969,650 - a figure that is 1/3 smaller than New York's metropolitan population.

The university's total enrollment is one-fifth that of Northern Illinois University, where I would estimate no more than two degrees of separation between any community resident and somebody who died on February 14. The regional effect is also large, as this crash killed the staff of a dermatology clinic that served several states.

The university made its convocation center available for a memorial service, a gesture that will strengthen the affection the community probably already has for the university.

Professor Tufte observed that media coverage of the event was limited in scope with little notice in the U.S. outside Utah. I found out about it only by reading his weblog and offer my sympathy to the people of Cedar City and Southern Utah University.

The absence of media coverage as your community recovers will be a benefit.

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