The devil in Paris is the devil in me

Walking to Listen

For many of us (especially those of us who are some combination of white, suburban-raised, and male), it’s easy to think of violence as a distant and alien phenomenon. It is shootings and muggings and bombings. It happens in bad neighborhoods far from our own, or in the hills of some foreign land, or in a city across the sea. We are connected to it only by the headlines, it seems. Or maybe we have experienced it firsthand, some obvious form of violence, but even then, we’d like to conceive of it as an anomalous blip in an otherwise violence-free existence. A freak accident. “Violence is not my story,” the thinking goes. “I am neither victim nor executioner. I’m just, you know, not a part of it.”

I thought this way for a long time. Still do, when I’m not paying attention. I’ve only recently begun to explore the startling truth: that not only…

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