Time Essay: Assassins and Skyjackers: History at Random

THE scenario writes itself in blood and irony: guards scrutinize the passengers. No hostile eyes are present; only travel-stained faces stare back. Then hell erupts. In an Israeli airport, from a French plane, Japanese terrorists gun down Puerto Rican pilgrims (see THE WORLD). The mind is dizzied, repelled—and outraged. We were never promised a rose garden, but neither were we threatened with bedlam.

History has lurched from its orbit; Cassandra herself could not predict events today. Not merely state or moral statutes seem suspended, but the laws of probability and chance. The lethal tendency...

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