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The e-mail had a simple enough subject line: “Al Qaeda.” It was from my cousin Karen, who also used to be my dentist. I have been, based on my government career in homeland security, the “terrorism expert” in the family. The e-mail came last year on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks: “Can you help? I’m a little nervous now. My daughter wants to go to NYC for the weekend. But I just saw that they think there could be a 10-year anniversary attack there, so I don’t want her to go. She says I am crazy. I said I could contact you. By the way, how are your gums? Are you flossing?” Terrorism has settled into a place on the list of our modern anxieties — next to gum disease and hurricanes — but it no longer looms as the overwhelming, existential worry that it seemed to be in the first few years after the attacks.


Kayyem, Juliette. "On Anniversary of 9/11, Fear is Present But Not All-Consuming." Boston Globe, September 10, 2012.