I live in Madrid since 95 but for 18 years before that I lived in NYC. Living in Madrid I had forgotten how dangerous life in USA was. In Madrid we don´t have hurricantes, flash floods, tornados, no major thunderstorms, no extreme swings in weather that could actually be lethal (Madrid is never that cold that a person could freeze to death on the streets). Spending these days between Manhattan and the Hamptons I am reminded of how dangerous life around here is. In Spain we don´t have conversations about the weather. But over here people have them because the weather is hard to ignore. This morning I woke up to one of those thunderstorms that sound like warfare. It was so tough that I could not sleep. Later I found out that we could not go to the Hamptons because most of Long Island was flooded, that 4 Long Island homes had caught fire because of lightning, that there was a major tornado in Islip, that thousands of basements were flooded. So we made the safe choice and stayed in Manhattan until we heard a loud noise that turned out to be a major explosion caused by a bursting steamed pipe that made a transformer blow up. The latest I hear is that one person was killed and 26 injured. All this happened at the NYC Library a place we had passed before with our baby seemingly safely tucked in his stroller. Also during ths afternoon I saw A Mighty Heart, a film about terrorism that reminded me of how this city was attacked in 1993 (I had a chance to witness the first WTC attack and used to work in that building years before it) and in 2001. And when I was watching the film I was frequently thinking about how the Bush Administration made the problem of radical Islam worsen and how much easier it must be for Osama Bin Laden and others to recruit now as opposed to 10 years ago. Is the next attack on Manhattan going to be nuclear? Unlikely but not impossible. And the paradox on this danger is that overall NYC is an extremely tolerant, thriving, very successful place run by a moderate mayor (with whom I had a chance to have dinner last Friday) who is a model for top management in government. Well, I know that today was a particularily bad day. Maybe things are not that extreme. But they certainly seemed out of control during the last 24 hours.
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