PostHeaderIcon The American Reaction To Death

Once again some nutcase has misused his freedom to harm others. While this is a tragedy to the nation, and much more so to the friends and families of the victims, it once again illustrates something very odd (and, I suppose, very human?) about the way we as a people react to violent death. Very inconsistently!

One of the things most obvious about our inconsistency is one of numbers. All over the world, every instant in time, some human is violently killing another. And, for the most part, we ignore it. In the mostly unknown killings in question, the killer failed to meet some mysterious threshold of body count for the killings in question to constitute a “national tragedy”. And, that threshold itself is somewhat inconsistent, varying (I suppose) with the general climate of killing in the world.

Another obvious inconsistency is one involving the “tools” used in the killings. For instance, a massive automobile pileup that results in enough simultaneous deaths to meet the threshold for firearms deaths to rate tragedy status may get only passing mention in the national news. In fact, we hardly get excited (as a nation) over the fact that automobiles are the “tools” of tens of thousands of deaths, dwarfing the number that can be attributed to firearms excepting in the midst of a major war.

We are also pretty much oblivious to the fact that the use of a common weed (tobacco) accounts for many times more deaths than the deadly automobile. (You may not think of tobacco death as “violent” – but only if you have never seen a loved one in the final stages of lung cancer or emphysema.)

In the cases of automobiles and tobacco, we write the deaths off as merely a cost of personal freedom in a modern society.

Could part of this inconsistency stem from the economic effects of the various “tools” of death? In every case I have mentioned, all those killed are a dead loss regardless of the “tool” used (pardon the pun – this is not a funny subject). However, the economics of the “tools” themselves are different.

The manufacture and maintenance of automobiles is one the largest enterprises in the world. And the processing, manufacture and use of the fuels used by automobiles is a major tax cow for all levels of government.

The growing, processing, manufacture and use of tobacco products is a major tax cow for all levels of government.

Meanwhile, the manufacture of guns and ammunition are almost insignificant by comparison to automobiles and tobacco.

Of course, as such thinkers as Nanny Bloomberg are beginning to realize, the REAL problems are not guns, automobiles or tobacco but our individual freedom to use (and misuse) them.

Freedom is dangerous – no doubt about it! But, do we really want to stamp it out?

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson

5 Responses to “The American Reaction To Death”

  • Troy says:

    Regarding the recent tragedy in Colorado, I think I heard a talking head on the radio say that someone was looking for “scape goats”.

    Before I proceed, let me tell you that my hearing (hell, my everything) has faded in recent years. The person I was listening to may well have said that someone was looking for “escaped goats”. If that was the case, I beg your pardon and ask that you read no further.

    However, if we are indeed seeking “scape goats” to share the blame with an obvious nut case, I have a suggestion:

    It is very clear (to me) that an ever increasing number of our citizens live in a sort of fantasy world. That is, they are not well connected to reality, if, indeed, they are even aware of the concept. Ergo, I hypothesize that many of the insane acts we see around us are, if not caused, at least are aided and abetted by this sense of unreality, this condition where many do not seem to know fact from fiction, real from unreal, possible from impossible.

    Fine. I will assume you are with me so far. Next, is there any entity or movement in our land that promotes this notion of unreality? You bet there is. It is called the Progressive Movement. A movement that relies on unreality for each and every thing it promotes.

    Relies on unreal ideas such as:

    Idea #1: “Private property is bad and causes unfair outcomes.” This despite the number of times humanity has had to learn “the tragedy of the commons” the hard way. It is true that common ownership of everything does eventually lead to a level outcome but it is the level at which nobody has anything.

    Idea #2: “It is actually possible to get something for nothing.” Certainly it is possible for some Progressive Robin Hood State to take the fairly earned produce of one person’s labor and give it to another who did not earn it. But, it is most certainly not given “for nothing”. Instead, it is traded for the recipient’s freedom, their dignity, and at the cost of them developing their own survival skills.

    Idea #3: “The basic resources required for life are infinite, therefore everyone can have their “fair share” without regard to their contribution.” This idea alone exposes the sheer insanity of the Progressive Movement. Rational thinking would inform us all that nothing exists in infinite quantity (excepting, perhaps, human gullibility) and that the “fairest” way to distribute limited resources is by making an definite link between individual contribution and individual reward.

    I could go on (and probably will at some future time) but I think this should be enough to get the idea across. In summary, that idea is that all this “unreal” behavior we see around us may be, at least partly, driven by the unreal world of Progressivism.

    I’m not sure about all this but it is something to consider – is it not?


    • I think you are on to something here, Troy. Don’t leave out those untethered from reality on the Right, who talk about ‘God’s plan’ and our need to get on our knees to beg Him to deliver us from such evil…

      Victor Davis Hanson has a great piece out entitled, “The Demons of the Modern Rampage Killer,” which covers this well. â—„Daveâ–º

      • Erik Lundrbeck says:

        Even though I can be considered one of the irrational religious folk from both atheist and Christian perspectives (I worship old gods), I can say that within my religion that you can pray all you want, but it’s you who has to do something. The old gods interacts as little as possible with the mundane world, so why should they wield so much power when they gave us free will. That’s why it’s not god or some evil force that allows Obama to reign Rex eternum, but the naïveté of the American people and, in the event of the a second term of ObamaNation, it will be the stupidity of the people. Nothing supernatural at all. The same thought can be applied to everyday acts of evil. It’s human malevolence, not some supernatural act upon the psyche of a human being. It would be nice if that could explain the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and The Khmer Rouge, but it’s simply humans being power hungry cretins or in the case of Mr. Holmes, megalomania coupled with a need for attention. Nothing more.

      • Troy says:

        You anticipated today’s rant. Even though you have spilled the beans, here goes anyway…

        I first suggested that the unreality inherent in the Progressive Movement may have, at least partially, motivated the Theater Loon. Today, I offer another possibility:

        It is simple (for me) to conclude that the Theater Loon, along with Lockner, the Late, late of Heaven’s Gate, the followers of Kool Ade Jim Jones, indeed, most any modern day loon (or collection thereof) all share a common attribute:

        They Are Delusional

        Whether their delusions are driven by some bad mix of electro-chemical reactions in what passes for their brains, are driven by other delusional practices, or some combination of both, I cannot say with authority.

        What I can say however, is that we live in a world dominated by delusional thoughts and ideas. What manner of delusional thoughts and ideas could I possibly mean? Here are just a few:

        Delusion#1: Allowing one’s self to be convinced that a perfectly enlightened creature can have emerged from a lotus blossom.

        Delusion#2: Allowing one’s self to be convinced that a deranged child molester had been given the absolute truth, directly from Allah and then, upon his death, had ridden a magic stallion from Jerusalem to Heaven, despite the fact that he died quite a ways from Jerusalem and had never been known to visit that city.

        Delusion#3: Allowing one’s self to be convinced that the viscous, pointless murder of your fellow humans will result in a bounty of grapes, virgins or both upon your death.

        Delusion#4: Allowing one’s self to be convinced that an entity capable of creating an entire universe (maybe even a mulitverse) would be so concerned with a bunch of unwashed morons in a bleak desert that he could designate them as his “chosen people”.

        Delusion#5: Allowing one’s self to be convinced that a virgin can give birth to a part man / part god who then resurrects deceased people, feeds thousands from a few scraps, walks on water, and, best of all, after a horrible death by torture, reappears a few days later, body intact, only to soon fly away through the ether, presumably bound for someplace that could only exist outside the universe. BTW, if he is traveling at the speed of light, he is only just now departing our home galaxy.

        Delusion#6: A combination of all the above, resulting in the belief that the universe began through an act of creation (something we cannot know), and further that the “creator” somehow is part of that which it created — for, how else could humans interact with it?. But then, however can anything be part of something that it pre-existed?

        Such delusions have dominated human thought throughout recorded history and, no doubt, well beyond. Delusions that are driven by nothing more than the human need to know the unknowable and to describe the indescribable, thinking that such delusions will somehow save them from the only certainty in life – death.

        In a world that is “informed” by such delusions, how can we be surprised when the occasional loon decides that shooting some of these, blowing up some of those, or merely beating up some others is such a bad idea? Sorry, but delusional is delusional.


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