Complexity of Death

Death is complicated. I don’t think most people realize how complicated.

Death in mainstream media is contorted and distorted. The vast majority of books, movies, and TV series show this odd idea of death, this sanitized ideal. We separate ourselves from it, dismiss it, or justify it. 

The proverbial “red shirt” in literature occurs so often that death on the page or the screen hardly bothers most of us anymore.

When horrible things happen to villains, we don’t care. When horrible things happen to a hero, we take it as license for them to do horrible things to the villains back. 

Death doesn’t discriminate. It’s not like in the stories and video games, where the bad guys seem to be made of paper and the hero/heroine is forged from kevlar. People who mean something to you are no more resilient than those just like them across the world you’ll never meet. In a way, that’s good because on average people aren’t any more likely to be hurt when you care about them. (Unlike every protagonist’s parents ever.) But you can’t will someone to live by caring about them.

Death doesn’t care who you love or hate. 

Death is at once so easy and so difficult. People can survive being run over by cars, being shot/stabbed multiple times, being hit in the head with baseball bats (while remaining conscious through it all). 

At the same time, death is simple. A single bullet through the heart of a deer, pulping its heart muscle, kills it. The rest of that deer’s body can be in perfect condition, but break it in one tiny place and that life is gone forever. 

There are so many considerations, so many things that can prolong, delay, or expedite a demise. 

And I’m not even touching the legal implications of someone dying.

Death is complicated.


    1. That is fascinating. I mean…what happens in a person’s head to make them think that’s okay?

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