“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Thus spake Samuel Johnson, and he was correct. (Note to the reader: a fortnight is two weeks, or fourteen days, from the Old English.) Many of my friends expect the Boogaloo to come in a few fortnights. I don’t really believe in the Boogaloo, but I think there’s something therapeutic about it. Like religion, prison, and true love, the Boogaloo offers a drastic reduction of possibilities. It’s easier to worry about fields of fire from your second-story windows than to wonder what kind of a man you’ll be in society when you’re in the bread line with everyone else, and you’ve started having to pull your own teeth for lack of dental care. We all know in our hearts that a Great Depression, or even a Not-So-Great Recession, leads to years of quiet, grinding desperation. Far better to imagine that the future holds a series of running gun battles with depersonalized Others who will be morally inferior to us but also, one hopes, much less practiced in the manual of arms for the AR-15 (USA) or Marlin 1894 (Canada) or Maringer Vorpal (here in non-firearms-owning Riverside Green, where we study the blade).
You get the idea. It’s easier and more pleasurable to imagine violent action than lengthy misery. Yet here we are, with our focused minds. For me, this focusing has led to an odd… flattening of empathy.