September 11, 2015


WHEN WILL WE GET BACK TO NORMAL? A colleague asked me that today. “This is normal,” I replied. For most of human history, wondering when somebody from another tribe was going to try to kill you was the standard activity. In much of the world, it still is. Three million people have died in the Congo in the past couple of years. Before that, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Middle East, Cambodia, — you get the idea. It’s only in comparatively strong and wealthy Western nations that we can pretend that safety is normal. It really isn’t all that normal for us, either. In the past hundred years we’ve had two world wars and a bunch of others. In the 19th Century we had the Civil War, the War of 1812 (in which most of DC was burned), etc., etc.

“Normal” is what we call those brief periods when something normal isn’t happening.

Well, that’s held true, alas.

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