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April 19th, 2013

Francisco de Goya, detail of "El sueño de la razón produce monstruos" (c. 1799)

“After that the city was deathly silent, and no one was to be seen on the streets for several hours – until church time. It was a sparkling morning, and around the post office the air was fragrant with the scent of magnolia blossoms.”

Charles Portis, “How The Night Exploded Into Terror,New York Herald Tribune, 1963

Shot answers shot, so by the time you read this, “Suspect #2” will be sprawled out dead, or shackled in an interrogation room, or at least had his real name splayed across the Twitter [YesEd.], something more substantive than “white cap.” He’s in the jackpot; his life in these moments is worth less than the paper the Post is printed on.

No matter. Because this is the way we live now.

When a bomb explodes late at night, and punctures the placid sheen of the dark, somewhere in the mind of Americans the mythical has been slain. In its place, people we don’t know but whom we fear have hoisted a new standard. Now pressure cookers, in which mom made pot roast, are filled with carpenter nails and ball bearings, and explode and take life and limb with them.

Maybe the perpetrators are “dark.” We can’t explain what they’re doing, but if they have darker skin, many people purse their lips and nod knowingly. They know who the bad guys are. “Those people.” It’s as loathsome a notion as those that Rupert Murdoch made his millions off of – the public wants red meat, not truth. It’s real venom, but it courses through all mammals, a bloodline marking savagery in all its stripes, in every race.

This is all far too regulated, just a chain of misfortune these days I suppose we’re meant to accept, arching across the water, borne on drones and in backpacks and from long rifles and Glocks and machinery so frightening you can’t conceive of it.

Who has the energy, eh, Joe? An eight year-old is torn to pieces by shrapnel, his crime, wanting to hug his father.

This is no way to live. I don’t have anything funny to say. Words are not enough.

General Gandhi

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