"We were normal kids, studying, playing, living our lives. The war was always something happening over there - on the border, in the next town, the other neighbourhood, always somewhere else. We were normal - war couldn't happen to us.
"Until the bomb that blew out our window. I remember; I was in my home, doing homework at the table. Leading my life like normal girls and boys do. Then the blast - then everything changed."
That story was told to me in 2001 by a Croatian English teacher I'd met in Zagreb. She was recounting to me her experience of the war, how it had crept up on her, her family, her friends.
It's a message I've heard many times by many people in similar circumstances; whatever's going wrong, it always happens somewhere else. The other plane will get hit, someone else's car will crash, etc. War is something that happens to other people; we, somehow, are immune, even when we know we're not.
I think about this as I read tweets about Ferguson, which has become as far to many Americans as Zagreb seemed then, or as the Middle East feels now.
Nothing like war to remind us of our true place in the big picture, is there?