Thursday, May 12, 2005


This morning while casually reading through the paper, I came across a brief mention of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombing in Kenya which killed 224 people. And for the first time, I think, I seriously considered the fact that what I'm doing might very well lead to my death. By taking this job, I could die. I could die in a gritty and horrible manner. I felt a real wave of fear which left me with knots in my stomach.

This surprised me. I really can't think of much that I'm afraid of -- certainly some vague, statistically unlikely possibility of death was never high on the list. But maybe it's the very unlikeliness of it which makes it so daunting. Now the probability has been raised just enough to make the chance seem real, yet not enough to justify drastic steps to safeguard against it. I suppose something about that balance is the root of unease.

The faceless, almost banal quality of this sort of death bothers me as well. The paper this morning is full of stories about the military personnel who have died fighting overseas, but mentions of embassy bombings warrant little more than a blurb on the back page. It disturbs me to think that this is how I could end. It disturbs me to think that 224 people died in Kenya, and I have no idea who they are.

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