What Does Death Mean In America Anymore?


Tributes to the victims of the recent Nashville school shooting.

I have been rolling this around in my head over the last few years or so, and I am going to dump it out here. I am really not sure what death means to the average American today.

I have shocked and enraged people with this comment before, so I am a bit reluctant to say it, but when you ask someone “is sexual assault and murder wrong?” the most likely answer you will get is “of course.” The truth, however, seems to be more “it depends.”

When the people around me calm down after I say that, I explain why. Are you, dear reader, settled? Great! Here goes…

As someone who has lived through Jerry Sandusky (and Jim Jordan), whether you want justice for sexual assault depends on whether you like or feel an association with the person accused. As someone who has lived through the Black Lives Matter era and noted how there are people who really believe that someone should face an untried death penalty during a traffic stop, whether you feel murder is okay greatly depends on whether you like the person, or type of person, being murdered.

I’ll stick with the death theme here and extend that idea from murder to death during a pandemic. In early 2021, through a lot of hard work by researchers, we not only had one COVID vaccine, but three. There were plenty of people who were quite put out that they could not get sushi in a restaurant (which was not true as outdoor dining was still happening). So, they were ready to rip off the masks and not take any precautions.

If you were against this, you were a silly leftist who was being hypocritical about “trusting the science.” That Veritable Bastion of Reasoned Thought, The Atlantic published that on May 4, 2021. Since that time, 550,196 Americans lost their lives to COVID.

There are two types of eyerollers who dismiss that fact. The first is, well, those people refused the vaccine and it is their own damn fault they died. I hear you. Delusional conspiracy beliefs are profoundly frustrating. But not all who died were vaccine deniers.

The other is “yeah but most of those people were either old or sick so they were going to die anyways.” If you are 65 and older, you are well within your right to tell those family members who SAID IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that if you croaked from the COVID, “lol whatevs I want to back to the club” to f*** right off at Thanksgiving.

There was also that time when white people in rural areas did not change their life one bit during 2020 because it was the Blacks and city people who were dying so who gives a shit.

Fast forward to the current time, and there is an epidemic of gun violence, so much so that elderly people whose brains have been addled by Fox News propaganda are shooting people just for getting the wrong address. People are also getting shot for retrieving balls in other yards and going to the wrong car. I don’t know…if someone turns around in our driveway or I see a neighbor kid chase down a ball in our yard, my first impulse is not to blow them away.

However, on social media and in article comment sections, whether it is okay to shoot someone for knocking on your door is a subject of hot debate. The obvious is rather clear, that the people who are most enthused about going Dirty Harry on a kid for chasing a ball into a yard or taking out the guy whose friend gave them the wrong house number are also the people who scream the loudest about how abortion is murder. These are not healthy people with any sort of sense. Some of it is likely due to the hysteria over crime being higher than ever but that is just not true. That insisting that crime is very high leads to crime if for another blog post at another time.

There are a lot of people now who feel this way, that human life does not matter if it is a certain person or type of person’s life. And they even hold some high places. Crazed Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants a man who openly talked about murdering people before he murdered someone to have a pardon. Because the person this guy murdered was a Black Lives Matter protestor, which puts the victim in the category of people they do not like.

Even after a horrifying example during the Charlottesville protests when a young female protestor was murdered by a vehicle driven by a counter-protestor, the Republican Party fell over itself to pass laws making it okay to run over protestors. I suppose this should be expected of a party that is more and more acting like some sort of twisted death cult. And let’s be honest, a significant number of Republicans have been this way for years, they just were less likely to be open about it. Killing liberals has always been a fantasy of theirs.

And I haven’t even touched on how there is a very strange movement to eliminate an entire class of people, trans folks, and put them in a situation where they will return to being much more likely to commit suicide.

I wonder where we are going with all of this, as a nation, and what we could become. I think the first step is to admit that we have this problem, which is something too many people seem reluctant to do. But this reality is harder and harder to dismiss, and my hope is enough Americans wakeup to reverse it.

The last word goes to Alanis Morissette.