In his recent book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker draws upon a wealth of data to argue that the modern world, especially since 1945, has experienced a dramatic and probably irreversible decline in organized violence. The book has received much critical attention (which will indeed be the topic of future discussion in Perspectives). It is undeniably true that recent decades have seen a decrease in the incidence of, and casualties related to, classic forms of interstate violence, and that in recent years there has been a decline in organized civil war violence as well. At the same time, it is equally true that violence—its threat, its use, its many often-unpredictable consequences—remains an ever-present part of the political landscape throughout the world. The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development's recent report, The Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011, estimates that since 2004 “more than 526,000 people are killed each year as a result of lethal violence.” The report estimates that only around one tenth of these killings—approximately 55,000 per year—are caused by “direct armed conflict,” i.e., in organized wars, whether interstate or civil. But it also estimates that hundreds of thousands more are related to gang violence, drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, and other activities that take place in a netherworld beyond law and order, and between “war” and “peace.” And it observes that while the categories typically used by governments, multilateral agencies, and NGOs to classify violence—organized vs. interpersonal, conflict-related vs. criminal—serve certain practical purposes, “these distinctions give the misleading impression that different forms and incidents of violence fit into neat and separate categories,” whereas in fact these forms of violence are not so neatly distinguished. And beyond the sphere of lethal violence lays a much broader domain of destruction, fear, insecurity, vulnerability, and harm.