WORDS: 939 — Huh? There’s death with context? Does that context make any difference in the absolute-ness of death? It certainly matters not one bit to the person who died. People die because that’s life. What more context is required? Might we be talking about the “reason” for a death? Does that in itself help at all the person who died? Nope. Then we must be thinking that possibly we want to make sure the same reason for the death doesn’t befall us. You mean, there’s a priority in death?
I was in the funeral industry for five years so I have a far better understanding than most in understanding the after-effects of someone dying, on the living. I made a living around death. Arranging funerals, veterans… removing bodies from accidents… all ages, all manner of death… the gross… the macabre… the disgusting… the whole works. It’s important to understand that I in performing that work I did not experience SEEING death occur… in all its randomness and varieties. That emotion is far different. I did cause a death (a family member no less) in a lapse of judgement while driving my car. That in itself sobers up one’s moral perspective very quickly. I broke no traffic laws… violated no rules of the road. Timing and bad judgment. My father died from a heart attack, my breath being his last while I tried to resusitate him. Years later at my mother’s bedside when she breathed her last from cancer. I am fortunate in that I have been able to pigeon hole my “death” experiences without sinking into an emotional abyss. Other than my career in the funeral business being a bit different, my other experiences are more or less similar to what many other people experience in life so I don’t claim experiencing anything unique… just that it all can add up to a developing perspective as they occur through life.
I present all that “inside” experience with death.. a self-experience… to illustrate that we also experience “outside” death experiences. Meaning, that which occurs to others in life outside our personal bubble. What we hear in the news… victims of life’s sad encounters… crimes of passion… soldiers at war… civil violence… vehicular accidents… airplanes… the list is infinite. In one way or another we all experience some fleeting moment with a mental sigh.. to a loud screaming… emotional response. It’s often reflective of the war in Vietnam that Americans got numb to the daily and weekly body counts being reported on the evening news. It wasn’t a matter of being numb and uncaring. It was simply a matter of emotional priority. It’s the mind compensating by… “Yes, I know this is going on… but I cannot personally shut it off from continuing.” Realizing death… is a matter of simple priority. It’s an extraordinary human hypocrisy…. of the many that make man.. man.
Where’s The Hypocrisy You Ask?
Let’s start here…. January 6th… Over 100 police injured, some critically. But let’s not count them.. they didn’t die. Deaths? 5 as a direct result of the insurrection, 4 police later by suicide. In total.. 8 plus one rioter. Who garners all the national attention (primarily from the far Right)? The single female rioter, shot by a plain clothes Capitol officer. You can see it there… the death PRIORITY is Ashly Babbitt. And her death is any more or less important on a moral level than the rest? It’s a priority because of politics.
Let’s try another example.
American service members killed in Afghanistan through April: 2,448.
U.S. contractors: 3,846.
Afghan national military and police: 66,000.
Other allied service members, including from other NATO member states: 1,144.
Afghan civilians: 47,245.
Aid workers: 444.
..and four days before our military finally departed Kabul 13 service personnel were killed by a suicide bomber.
Taliban and other opposition fighters: 51,191. (We don’t have to count these people because they were the enemy and had to die; moral justification.)
You know the death priority here, right? Let me help… out of this entire list, it’s the 13 soldiers who died 4 days before our departure. In fact, we are demanding investigations, resignations, firings, prison time, heads rolling. These service people were simply part of the total killed in the Afghan war. Why would their deaths be any more or less important than all the other GI’s who were killed over the last 20 years? The death priority is for politics.
Let’s keep going with another example… on the day those 13 service personnel were killed Covid killed 2,213 Americans here in the States. And of that total nearly 95% were not vaccinated and would have lived. Who got the nation’s death priority… 13 soldiers killed in the line of duty 4 days before the combat ended.
How many were killed at Sandy Hook? 20 children, 7 adults.
How many killed at the Vegas shooting? 58 people
The Orlando nightclub shooting? 50 people.
The death priority in all those events? The imagined preservation of the Second Amendment
Yep.. hypocrisy abounds when we celebrate death outside of our personal worlds.
Add up all the death totals we’ve chatted about on this post alone.. all sides, all categories, all reasons… and very likely they all individually fell into someone’s personal priority bubble. Collectively, the vast majority of all these deaths were just forgotten in the public priority of selecting only the few to be important enough to remember not for their lives but for what their deaths represented to the political narrative. It’s appalling the value of a human life we hold here in America. At least here life isn’t cheap like you might find in Third World countries. Here your death just might be of political value… in context, of course.