'Unprecedented' Volatility: Perception vs. Reality

Over the past few weeks, I have read soooooooo many articles and blog entries about “unprecedented” short-term volatility.
Because my recollection differs, I did my best to ignore those anecdotal comments, but when John Bogle announced on CNBC yesterday [VIDEO] that it’s the worst he’s seen in his 55 year career, I knew I had to go back into history and take a look.

This is the weekly chart of the S&P 500 index. The red dots mark out spots where the market had big moves to the downside. As you can see, those red dots have been few and far between since the 2003 lows. In fact, it’s not been this “peaceful” since the early 1990s.
So no, these gyrations are not unprecedented. It was much worse in the bad old days of the dot com boom.