I'm actually a little unsure whether I should be impressed or disturbed by the volume of coverage IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon's death has received.
If we're all honest, it's the nature of how it happened, rather than the untimely death of a popular young man with a young family, that has caused all the headlines. In my book, any unexpected death is a tragedy. For those left behind there will always be a gaping hole in their lives.
For years I have found it more and more interesting how a death on a motor racing circuit makes large headlines around the world, whereas day-to-day tragedies are consigned to the inner pages of newspapers.
One of the greatest observers of human nature and its inter-reactions, Ernest Hemingway, has often been quoted as saying: "There are only three sports: bullfighting, mountain climbing and motor racing; all the rest are merely games."
Playing the game of chance at 300km/h-plus, and getting it wrong, has far more ramifications than dropping a high ball and getting pinged for a knock on.
Let's be honest - people primarily watch motorsport in the hope of seeing an accident. By people I mean the fans and spectators, not team owners, sponsors and certainly not drivers, who have a vested interest in getting across the line as the chequered flag is waved.
I will reiterate, no fan, spectator, team or family member wants to see anyone die in an accident, but there's no getting around the visual draw of a spectacular racing incident, especially when the drivers walk away.
If you don't believe, look at the number of views of racing accidents on YouTube. Take Wheldon's fatal crash, for instance. Over 1.5 million views in three days. If that's not morbid fascination I don't know what is.
Before I carry on, I would like to mention that I raced motorcycles for many years, on occasion internationally, so have some idea what it's like to be in a position of potential danger. In those years I witnessed the odd death, but no one to my knowledge was forced to go racing.
The blame game circulating about the accident at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway bothers me. IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard didn't force Wheldon into the car. It was his choice to start at the back of the field and go for the US$5 million prize.
Every one of the drivers in that race could have pulled out if they thought there were too many cars, or the track was dangerous. And those involved at the beginning of the crash didn't suddenly decide to spice things up by deliberately touching wheels.
Drivers who race at elite level know the risks and accept them. It's not really up to media commentators to pass judgment on whether the race should have started or not.
I think motor racing deaths get massive coverage because they occur so rarely. The last time someone died racing an IndyCar was in 2006 when Paul Dana crashed during practice. In Formula One the last death was in 1994 when Ayrton Senna crashed at the San Marino Grand Prix. I would guess that more people have died in New Zealand doing DIY in the last year, or riding ATVs on a farm, than have died racing cars in the past decade. Motor racing is probably the most dangerous sport one can do but has one of the safest records. A friend of mine recently informed me statistics exist that prove golf is more dangerous than motor racing these days. Forty to 50 years ago, drivers were lucky just to survive a season let alone a career.
In an accident in 1966 during the Belgian Grand Prix, Sir Jackie Stewart became trapped in his upside down car with fuel dripping all over him. A small spark could have turned man and machine into a fireball. The inability to get out of the car and lack of tools for the marshals to extract him prompted Sir Jackie to campaign for better safety options and track improvements.
He has been hugely instrumental in getting track safety standards to where they are today .
"From 1968 to 1973 the statistics told me each time I raced I had a one out of three chance of living and a two out of three chance of dying," said Sir Jackie in an earlier interview with the New Zealand Herald. "It was ridiculous how many funerals and memorial services we were attending.
"I have no idea how a modern driver would react to those circumstances. Back then safety was looked upon as negative and nobody wanted to change anything because it cost money to change things."
The safety of the drivers is paramount these days, but very rarely one slips through the net.
Part of the fascination of motor racing is knowing the smallest mistake will end in the biggest mess and possibly death. It's an addictive adrenalin buzz. While our feelings go out to Wheldon's family, never forget he was lucky enough to die doing what he wanted to be doing.