Several articles in this issue of THE JOURNAL highlight the increasing
appreciation of the complexity, ubiquity, and inescapability of both personal
and indirect exposure to trauma and violence.1- 5 Trauma,
variously defined, is an integral part of the human condition. Most of the
world has already known this, in many cases firsthand. Whatever illusions
of a tranquil life the more fortunate segments of US society may have had
prior to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11 terrorist attacks,
a different awareness of individual and collective vulnerability has been
instilled in the US consciousness. This awareness has been expanded to consider
the psychological consequences of the "routine" violence that occurs daily
in less dramatic form—routine and less dramatic, that is, except for
those most immediately affected.
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