Today marks the 107th anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, which along with the ensuing fires eventually killed over 3,000 people and destroyed 30,000 buildings, including most of the city’s central business district.

At a time when we are still recovering from one nightmarish incident in Boston and beginning to absorb another in East Texas, it’s encouraging to remember how resolutely the people of a city brought to its knees by an unimaginable disaster responded and recovered. But’s it’s also important to remember how close we all remain, even in this post-modern age, to natural and unnatural violence that puts our routine worries and squabbles into a more appropriate perspective.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.