When you check out Europe's shooting percentages over the last century, you can see that this is a very streaky performer who may have seen better days. Only a tantalizing little spike in the casualty rate for the 90s, provided by the ever-reliable Balkans, gives hope that Europe has some carnage left to give the world.
But before giving up on the old continent, let's remember that Europe also started the 20th century in a slump, mired in a long, boring period of balance-of-power peace which was making red-blooded Europeans cranky. They missed the chance to indulge in their ancestral sport: village to village axe fights every Saturday night.
Everybody was glad when the Balkan Wars got the teams off to a bloody beginning, but not even the most wild-eyed optimists dreamed of the gore-orgy that kicked off in 1914. By the time the last weary celebrant trudged home five years later, there'd been enough splatter to satisfy Freddy Kreuger.
And for the few who couldn't get enough, there was the Russian Civil War, a sort of after-hours club for trench junkies.
When peace of a sort broke out over Russia, there wasn't much in the way of alternative entertainment until the Spanish Civil War of the mid-30s. And even this wasn't so much a real war as a diary competition with casualties. It gave pencil-necked leftist geeks enough war stories to last several lifetimes, and provided the Luftwaffe and Red Army with excellent test conditions for their new weapons lines.
And what a wow they were, when the 1939 models hit the market. For the first time, Europeans could realize their ancient dream: not just chopping up a few of their neighbors, but annihilating every man, woman and child of them, once and for all. The new tools found willing hands, and by 1945, Europe had managed a stunning and impressive kill record which will probably remain unchallenged in our lifetime.
But that one great decade seemed to take a lot of punch out of the aging Europeans. The 50s were a near shut-out. Sure, Europeans were dying, in places like Vietnam, Malaysia and Algeria, but we're not counting them. We're measuring blood shed on the good old continent itself. And by that measure, the 50s were a drought, with nothing but the odd Greek commie or Hungarian anti-commie to pile on the bonfire.
The 60s were no better. Europeans still hated each other as warmly as ever, but no longer had the birth rate or team spirit to go out and kill for their convictions. Nothing but the odd bomb in Belfast, assassination in Bilbao, or tank-pedestrian match in Prague livened up a dull and hedonistic decade -- a decade of shame for Europe.
The 70s and 80s offered little improvement. A few scores in supporating ethnic margins were all the newly-wealthy, selfish Europeans could manage. So-called "wars" like the over-publicized scuffles in Northern Ireland, generated fewer casualties than a holiday weekend in Chicago. While the rest of the world bubbled over with gore, Europe just couldn't seem to get the old groove back.
And then, in the early 90s, when all hope seemed lost, the old troopers came through. The Balkans, stifled by decades of Tito-peace, broke out in a brilliant improv. They were short of personnel, fuel and equipment, but they made up for it with sheer blood-lust. It was a deeply touching reminder that the true European spirit can flourish even after years of pacifist repression.
So the old continent begins a new millennium, looking with pride at the small but encouraging statistical spike provided by a quarter million dead in a new and welcome round of Balkan wars.
Europe began the 20th century up to its axles in peace and then the Balkans show the way. Have the Balkans done it again a century later, and will Europe follow their shining path?
Only time will tell. But as new hate fills European hearts across the continent, the cry goes forth: "That village spoils the view!"