E ven though an American is four times more likely to be killed by lightning, there's no greater bogeyman in the Anglo-American body politic than the homicidal terrorist. It beggars belief that something so statistically insignificant (it has been suggested that the odds of death at the hands of a jihadist, or the like, is one-in-20 million) has been manipulated to trump fundamental freedoms – not just in the US, but globally.
"Happy is the country that has no history" is a proverb attributed to the French philosopher, Montesquieu. In 1994, South Africa – up until then a synonym for backwardness and brutality – was reborn as a democracy. A new epoch dawned. A promised land beckoned. And the man who had come to embody that hope was inaugurated as president.
The astronomer Fred Hoyle once observed: "Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards."
I for one would welcome a leak of these holes-and-corners from apartheid to Nkandla and beyond.
Do they still teach Wilfred Owen's poetry at schools? If not, it must be hoped that teachers will find the time.
The effective opposition of the future will not come from Agang SA. It will not emerge as a neat package of experts, press conferences and retweets. In fact, the media will not pay much attention to its initial launch. But one day - invisible no more - they will "enter stage left" as they say in the theatre.
It's not that there's no demand for association football - far from it. Both in the 80s, when I attended the South African College Schools (Sacs), and even more so now - when soccer is the breaktime pick-up game of choice - the round ball is evidently popular.
By the time you read these words, the miners of Marikana will have long crossed the river Styx. Contemplate dear reader: These men with dirt in their pockets, their ears ringing with the noise of exploding lead, the holes through their bodies. Imagine some nocturnal body of water.
An amusing definition of hell as "Italian punctuality, German humour and English wine" plays on the one-sidedness of culture. For cultures tend to inscribe only a fraction of the whole of human potential.
As an analysis of our society race is still, to borrow a phrase from the mafia, the "boss of all bosses". It's a prefix, a subtext and for not an insignificant number - a totem pole. But there's another heavy hitter - a rival explanation - that maintains that class increasingly matters.
In a famous obituary written for Rolling Stone, Hunter S. Thompson described Richard Nixon as so "crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning". He didn't pull his punches: "He was not only a crook but a fool.
From the infamous LAPD, to London's notorious Special Patrol Group and even further back - two centuries ago, to the first ever newspaper reports of "police brutality" - all police forces exist along a continuum of violence. Leaving corruption aside, South Africa's police tend towards the direst part.