When it comes to terrible events like the Boston bombing people have empathy for what just happened to another city and community. They just don't think it will happen to them.
See a recent "unscientific" survey done on a business site here in the Puget Sound/Seattle region. 53% say a terrorist attack is unlikely What bothers me is no so much the 53% number, which is not extremely high, but the fact it is being asked a week after the attack I would have thought i might be lower.
People just don't see their community as being the place where disaster will visit. I guess it keeps us going and not huddled in our homes in fear, but without some caution and preparation the impacts of an event can be much worse.
This then is the challenge every emergency manager has. Getting people to understand the variety of risks they face from natural and human caused threats. Then, processing that information to have them and their families, businesses and governments become better prepared to respond and recover from a disaster. Disaster resilience will not be achieved until we have a better aware and prepared general population.