IF, AS SAMUEL JOHNSON SUGGESTED, the early prospect of being hanged serves wonderfully to concentrate one's mind, the actuality of a devastating hurricane performs that function equally well.
Here in central North Carolina (the Chapel Hill - Durham area) where most of the impetus for this inaugural issue of American Diplomacy originated, Hurricane Fran passed through September 5 and 6, leaving a path of destruction and property loss not previously equaled for this area in the twentieth century. Virtually everyone here waited out the night with a high degree of anxiety, once it became apparent that this was a major storm and that it was not, as so often has been the case over the years, going to pass us by. By morning, we here in the Tar Heel state looked out upon an astonishing amount of damage to our own homes, inflicted mainly by the hundreds of mature trees that the hurricane winds felled. Electricity was out everywhere, for days in many cases, with power lines down and streets blocked by debris and tree trunks. Potable water was in short supply. It was a mess, from which the area is gradually emerging. Fortunately, personal injuries and the loss of lives were held to a minimum.
THE MOST STRIKING EFFECT of this unsurpassed natural disaster was to make us all recognize that we were, after all, fortunate to come through with nothing more than damage to some of our possessions. Howling winds and crashing timbers concentrate the mind wonderfully on the things that are truly important, things such as life and limb above all, and then the conveniences of life.
Oh yes; another consequence of Fran was a delay in going on line with American Diplomacy. We trust that such a delay will not be repeated in future editions of the journal.