You probably heard about the commuter train explosions yesterday in Madrid, Spain. Many people were alarmed that it happened *exactly* 2 1/2 years after the 9/11 Horrors. Not only that, it also occured on 3/11. Not only that, between these dates (9/11/01 and 3/11/04), it rings up 911 days.
Oh, lord. In 300 years, someone would say that it's prophetic.
You know, after reading Larry Gonick's books, one thing that hasn't changed since the beginning of everything ... violence. And maybe prostitution. But actually, the world is always based on conquest after conquest after conquest after conquest ...
Back then, we were able to fight face-to-face with some interesting innovations that shock the people from time to time. Today, like Web said, the violence itself became impersonal. We just can fire a rocket for miles and kill 300 people. We can just toss a grenade and blow the city bus. We can just make bombs and leave it in bags or suitcases and let it explode and kill some in the process.
Come to think of this, we are going through a phase of impersonality. We do not know real enemy until it explodes in our faces. Back then, we could chase Genghis Khan or Hitler down to its core. But with Osama bin Laden, everything becomes murky and difficult to do so.
You see, I use the transit system in New York. One of the world's biggest transit system. It will *not* surprise me that a disaster like Madrid could happen here anyday. In fact, I expect it. If it does happen, shit happens. It's OK with me. I'll just die or maim somehow then move on.
To make you smile for what is worth about the history of violence, I just learned something interesting. In Constantinople before the Turks overwhelmed and changed it to Istanbul during the Dark Ages (the period where the Bubonic Plague decimated 3/4 of Europeans), the Mongols struggled to conquer Constantinople and during the wars, they lack the manpower to bury the dead bodies. To throw the Plague in, more dead bodies lying around. The Mongols decided to flung the dead bodies over the heavy & tall wall that divided the Mongols and Constantinople by using the machine that throws the rocks over -- they replaced the rocks with infected dead bodies. In Constantinople, people had to look up in the sky to see if people are flying down on them!
Even with the horrors, you have to admit that you got to snicker a little about that. I do.