SNAPSHOT ONE: A soldier who never faced combat “snaps” and murders three of his fellow soldiers before turning the gun on himself. This happens on the grounds of one of America’s largest Army bases.
SNAPSHOT TWO: A week after the deadline has passed, nobody can say for sure if a trillion-dollar health insurance overhaul law has actually resulted in a net gain of people with insurance. This is despite executive lenience, if I may coin a phrase, towards who counts as having “purchased” “coverage.”
SNAPSHOT THREE: The American President, having been embarrassed in sequence by having his demands ignored by the leaders of Iran, then Syria, then Russia, finds himself hailed for “facing down the war machine.” This claim is made in the face of Russian preparations for further aggression, continued Syrian foot-dragging on giving up its chemical weapons, the ongoing refusal of Iran to be talked out of its nuclear program, and something close to a crisis in Sino-Japanese relationships.
SNAPSHOT FOUR: America’s equities markets experience broad declines on news that the American economy created nearly 200,000 jobs in March following weeks of bad weather. Wall Street wasn’t looking at America’s stubbornly high underemployment rate, which actually rose slightly. Instead, Wall Street worries that even modestly-good economic news will slow the free money raining down from the Federal Reserve.
SNAPSHOT FIVE: A California state senator and gun control advocate, widely expected to have a long career in politics, is arrested on charges of bribery and trafficking automatic weapons and missiles to Muslim separatists in the Philippines. The mainstream American media for the most part yawns.
SNAPSHOT SIX: Oklahoma, of all places, experiences “record seismic activity.”
You don’t have to be a millenarianist these days to get the sense that the world is coming to an end. Our six snapshots above don’t show a world sucked into itself on the battlefields of Megiddo, but instead flying apart seemingly at random in a million different directions.