It Rhymes with Breath, as in Last

I totally agree with this post by Peggy Bird on Open Salon, when she states that death is the last taboo of American culture.  Heck, sex is all over the place.  You just have to watch a news report on Charlie Sheen and there's prostitutes, drugs and violence all rolled into one overpaid, overcelebrated mess of a man.  And we eat this stuff up.  Don't believe me? Snooki from The Jersey Shore was paid $32,000 buckaroonees to speak at Rutgers.  Her words of wisdom to the college crowd?  Study hard, but party harder. Wow, her parents must be so proud.

Okay, I digress, which I'm prone to do.  Sorry.  Back to death.

I've noticed that when I speak of my manuscript, people will lower their voices as if we are engaging in an illicit conversation.  For some, there may be a superstitious fear that if they acknowledge death, that it will find them.  I used to belong to this group.  If I don't think about it, perhaps it will just go away.  Well, we all know that that's not really an option.

But, avoiding those that are dying is fairly easy to do.  For most people, death occurs in a hospital or an assisted living facility, although there is a growing resurgence of people opting to spend their last days at home.  Unless you work in one of those facilities, you don't face it.  If it happens to someone you know and love, of course you are touched by it and you have to face the truth that most of us would rather deny.  Death happens.  It happens to old people, young people, mothers, fathers, children, pets, sisters, brothers, everybody.  It even happens to people we don't particularly like.

Which brings me to people who happen to be on death row.  If anyone's death is kept behind closed doors and hidden from the public, it is the men and women who are facing execution by the government.  It's easy not to think about executions.  Why?

Because it happens to other people, not to good people like us. 
Those people are getting what they deserve. It's justice.
I don't have time.
I don't want to think about it.
I don't know enough to join the discussion.

But the truth of the matter is, innocent people have been executed.  And yes, so have not so innocent people.  But my question to you dear reader is this, if our culture can't openly discuss death without lowering our voices or running away in fear, how can we allow our government to dole out death sentences and carry out that punishment when the average citizen can't even talk about death in general?

I encourage everyone to engage in this conversation.  State sanctioned killing is a big issue and the more you learn about it, the more confusing it becomes, but in my opinion, it's something we should all be talking about.