You may have been surprised to see video evidence of me holding a sign and shouting "Animal Liberation" at a recent DXE protest because of this essay. Yes, that's me in the corner. That's me in the spotlight, losing my religion. What was I doing there?
“With regard to the lower sort, and many of a middling rank, the scene was still more affecting; for they staying at home either through poverty, or hopes of succour in distress, fell sick daily by thousands, and, having nobody to attend them, generally died: some breathed their last in the streets, and others shut up in their own houses, when the stench that came from them made the first discovery of their deaths to the neighbourhood. And, indeed, every place was filled with the dead.”
-A description of the Black Plague of 1348 from Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron
As a sheltered, suburban child, I remember many public "awareness" campaigns that were designed to scare me straight. Many of these campaigns had the intended effect. I never abused drugs, smoking cigarettes never stuck, and sex was a highly-plasticized, "safe" experience.