Boston tragedy, manhunt takes emotional toll on some - WSMV News 4

Boston tragedy, manhunt takes emotional toll on some

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The events this week in Boston remind us how the threat of terrorism has become a frightening but common part of our daily lives - one that takes an emotional toll.

Televisions in a sports bar are rarely turned to news, but Friday at Sam's in Hillsboro Village didn't mean cheering on the Red Sox or Bruins.

Nels Howalt said watching the bombings and manhunt unfold on live TV has filled his daily life with suspicion.

"It's made everyone more aware of surroundings and what's around them. 'That guy's carrying a backpack - where's he from?' Now, these are all things you're gonna think about," Howalt said.

At another table, a group of grad students cope differently. They are part of the generation of young Americans for whom terrorism at home began at an early age.

It's difficult to shock those who watched 9/11 before they were teenagers.

"We do feel bad and react to things in very fleeting moments. I feel like we care but have to go on living our lives as well," said Fred O'Neal.

"We look to the future for what's next and expect bad things are going to happen, but we know - as a country - we know we'll overcome it and be better," said Brittany Adams.

Vanderbilt Psychologist Dr. Vickie Woosley, a former FBI agent, said people who feel overwhelmed by what they see on TV and read online can cope by doing something to help someone else.

"Helping donate blood, sign up for races to show that they're not afraid," Woosley said. "For some people that's a coping mechanism."

Woosley also said watching these events will have a greater emotional impact on people who are already dealing with a large amount of stress in their life.

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