Kennicott's essay, in reaction to this week's mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, begins with a reflection on a photograph by Joel Angel Juarez of police in paramilitary gear outside a Hooter’s restaurant in El Paso.
This convergence of our commercial landscape with violence is what the 21st century, slow-motion but persistent American war looks like. It also looks like the underside of a child’s school desk, people hiding in closets and wailing into cellphones, SWAT teams in parking lots, nightclubs with overturned bar stools and tables, piles of shoes abandoned outside a bar, and movie theaters soaked in gore. If we have the courage to do what we must do and look at the facts, we will also see that in one essential way, the American war looks like every other war everywhere on the planet, full of bodies riddled with bullets, bloodied, broken and dead.
Some wars are over in a day, or a week, and others go on for years. If there are opportunists and profiteers and cynical actors who are willing to fuel the mayhem for a tiny bit of personal or political advantage, then they can go on for decades. If war takes root in a society slowly, or by stealth, it can come to seem the ordinary state of affairs.
Just reminded myself that the distance between NYC and Chicago is almost exactly that between Beijing and Shanghai, and that the 1st is served by 1 train/day that takes 19 hours, and the 2nd is served by 35 trains/day that take as few as 4.5 hours.
Also, the Beijing—Shanghai route carries about 180 million riders a year, about as many as rode on all of Delta Airlines' network in 2017.
Where slowness comes from:
- Input devices
- Sample rates
- Displays and GPUs
- Cycle stacking
- Runtime overhead
- Latency by design
- User-hostile work
- Application code
…There is a deep stack of technology that makes a modern computer interface respond to a user's requests.
There is reason for this complexity, and yet we feel sad that computer users trying to be productive with these devices are so often left waiting, watching spinners, or even just with the slight but still perceptible sense that their devices simply can't keep up with them.