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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JULIETTE KAYYEM

Tragedy’s cold calculations

Yes or no? If a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing loses a limb, and his wife also loses a limb, should they be compensated under some notion of cumulative impact that is greater than double the sum of their individual claims? And if yes, what is that new number?

The administrator of the One Fund Boston, Kenneth Feinberg, can’t ponder for too long. This was just one question put to him at one of the public hearings at the Boston Public Library held this week. His consistent answer — a refrain he has told the victims of 9/11, the BP oil spill, and the Virginia Tech shootings — is that he doesn’t do happiness. “ ‘Happy’ never enters into this equation,” he once told families of 9/11 victims. Indeed, in order to meet his June 30 deadline for finalizing protocols, assessing claims, and distributing funds, “not happy” is about the only standard that will meet with universal consensus.

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