The year 2012 went so much deeper than the headlines that stand as its footnotes.
Yes, President Obama was re-elected to a second term, a bold-print moniker to be sure. Bigger though was the imprint of the result: A very slight majority of Americans is compelled to trust their livelihood to the big government format, even as that approach did nothing to help resuscitate the nation's economy for four years and plunged the country into $16 trillion of debt.
Other events carried similar deeper meanings.
The tragic weave of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal included his conviction and sentencing on the charges and the death of legendary Penn State football Coach Joe Paterno, who lived his final months with a sadly tarnished image. The deeper story?
The nation was awakened to the horror of child sex abuse and there seemed to be a hopeful conviction among those abused to relieve themselves publicly about what they have endured silently for years.
Superstorm Sandy punished the New Jersey-New York coast with horrific damage, leaving thousands without homes still today and lives changed forever.
The story beyond the story? The fury of Mother Nature, in its most lethal dosage, cannot be negotiated with.
We can prepare and we can execute the proper procedures, but random misfortune is a sobering thing.
Worldwide, there are more than the usual scary propositions going on. Syria is wracked by civil warfare and a dictator losing control is poised to inflict unspeakable human damage with deadly chemicals.
Afghanistan, even as the U.S. military prepares to get out, is more, not less, fragile and dangerous.
Much of the European Union, especially Greece, is on the shakiest of footing.
And then there is the anguish of Israel under siege again and the loss of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
These events, we believe, were preventable with better decision making, but they nevertheless fit the template of fragility we feel.
But none of this matches the helplessness and overwhelming grief and sadness produced by mass shootings at a movie theater in Colorado, a mall in Oregon and a school in Connecticut. In all cases, innocent people, many of them youngsters, died horrific, violent deaths at the hands of deranged gunmen.
The larger story is disquieting: We have become a society that has lost some of its traditional roots, hatching a more frequent possibility of people without a traditional conscience.
And against such people whether they be an unstable killer, serial sex abuser or a cold dictator there is little defense.
Our end take on 2012 is that we live in a fragile world.