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Guest Editorial: My Heroes Have Always Been Rodeo Clowns

When historians see that their nation is in big trouble, facing the proliferation of protests that raise bedrock questions about American race relations, and locked in disputes over the proper pacing of “re-opening” after the regime of social distancing, it is time for people in my line of work to follow the example set by rodeo clowns and head straight into the epicenter of trouble. We are called to put ourselves at risk—thankfully only of scorned expertise and bruised egos.

Once rodeo clowns see that a rider is in big trouble, tangled in his gear while the animal beneath him is twis...