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Earthquakes are the most bizarre of all the natural disasters. It’s like having your country physically attack you. No, not your country’s government, the land itself, the ground we walk on. That soil you love, honor in many ways, knocks you down and kills your loved ones.

The tsunami is not as bizarre. We all know water is a hostile environment for humans, but we learn how to use it. We swim and fish in it, but it rises up one day and drowns your neighbors.

Japan lives on the edge at the intersection of several shifting tectonic plates. We know what causes earthquakes today because of science, but I wonder what the ancients in Japan thought. Angry gods no doubt, although I haven’t done any research on it.

This is the perfect disaster. If Hollywood came up with this scenario in a movie, we’d all roll our eyes. An earthquake, a tsunami, and then a meltdown at a nuclear power plant. It’s too much. I’m expecting aliens to attack downtown Tokyo any minute. Anti-nuke people have been warning us for years that this disaster could happen and the pro-nuke people just dismissed them as being alarmists. Well, here it is.

This is a reminder that the nuclear power industry worldwide operates under Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will. Later, someone added, “and at the worst possible moment.” We only think we’ve harnessed the power of the universe. Every once in awhile, the universe reminds us otherwise.

Stop by the Mark Twain House and Museum to see my exhibit of original editorial cartoon art. “Drawing Fire: Bob Englehart’s 30 years at The Courant.” It’s free and will be up through May. For more information, call the Mark Twain House and Museum at 860-247-0998. As long as you’re there, take a tour!

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