D and D

The startling number of deaths, including today’s story in which “17 U.S. Soldiers Die in Iraq Copter Crash” is truly unnerving. It makes me think of the old saying that “Every is political,” because all of these deaths are. But it also makes me think that every death is also truly alone, that every individual, couched in his or her cocoon of personal armaments and hidden monologues, is supremely final, forever, foreign.
This came up time and again after the WTC came crashing down. Commentators asked of us to imagine what these people thought about and felt during the hour or so of panic before their tumble to earth — and it was easy to imagine the hell because it was televised. But for almost every other person in the world who is about to die, we only ask locally to imagine their life, at the funeral, the wake, and the graveyard. The public is safely away from it all. Are we thankful or relieved by this? Are we well served by our distance from others’ private deaths?

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