One is the constitutional trial of the century so far, which started Monday but may forever reshape how we police freedom of speech. The other is a bloodthirsty reminder of our failure to police our post-millennial resource wars.
While there are some mass murderers who are mentally ill, the vast majority are simply angry, frustrated, violent, young men. They have been with us since the beginning of time, and until we implement stronger nationwide gun-control laws they are likely to commit more atrocities in the future.
In the years to come, neuroscience may evolve to yield solid predictions about how genetics and brain conditions can influence a specific individual's particular choices at particular times. But for now, the tools of neuroscience should not be accorded the deference of mathematical certainty.
In one more Afghanistan tragedy, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is accused of the heinous crime of murdering 17 Afghan civilians. It offers a moment to pause and reexamine what our continuing purpose is in this longest war in U.S. history.