Tag Archives | Death

The chilling aftershock of a brush with death


It was April 8, 2003. I was in Baghdad, covering the war in Iraq. That day, Americans tanks started arriving in Baghdad. We were just a few journalists in the Palestine Hotel, and, as happens in war, the fighting began to approach outside our windows. Baghdad was covered in black smoke and oil. It smelled awful. We couldn’t see a thing, but we knew what was happening.

Of course, I was supposed to be writing an article, but that’s how it always goes — you’re supposed to be writing and something big happens. So I was in my room on the 16th floor, writing and looking out the window every now and then to see what was happening. Suddenly, there was a huge explosion. During the previous three weeks, there had been shelling with half-ton missiles, but this time, the shock — I felt it inside of me, and I thought, “It’s very close.Read the rest

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“I would love to believe that when I die, I will live again.”

Javier (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Javier (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

I would love to believe that when I die, I will live again….  that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue.  But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.

The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence.  Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

— Carl Sagan

h/t Relatively Interesting.


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People Are Getting Shot by Toddlers on a Weekly Basis This Year

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Christopher Ingraham writes at the Washington Post:

This week a 2-year-old in South Carolina found a gun in the back seat of the car he was riding in and accidentally shot his grandmother, who was sitting in the passenger seat. This type of thing happens from time to time: A little kid finds a gun, fires it, and hurts or kills himself or someone else. These cases rarely bubble up to the national level except when someone, like a parent, ends up dead.

But cases like this happen a lot more frequently than you might think. After spending a few hours sifting through news reports, I’ve found at least 43 instances this year of somebody being shot by a toddler 3 or younger. In 31 of those 43 cases, a toddler found a gun and shot himself or herself.

In August, for instance, a 21-month-old in the St.

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Police: Every Member Of The Church Where A Teen Was Fatally Beaten Is A “Person Of Interest”


Members of the Word of Life church in New Hartford, New York are under investigation for their involvement in the beating death of 19-year-old Lucas Leonard.

Tasneem Nashrulla via BuzzFeed News:

Everybody associated with the Word of Life church in New Hartford, New York, is a “person of interest” in the beating death of a 19-year-old, police spokesman Lt. Timothy O’Neill told BuzzFeed News.

Six members of the church have been charged in the fatal beating of Lucas Leonard on Sunday.

Lucas and his 17-year-old brother, Christopher, were allegedly ambushed inside the church for more than 10 hours during a “counseling session” in the hopes they would confess alleged prior sins, the New Hartford Police Department said. Lucas died on Monday from blunt force trauma. Christopher remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

Six church members were arrested, including the teens’ parents. Deborah and Bruce Leonard were charged with manslaughter and the brothers’ their 33-year-old half-sister, Sarah Ferguson, was charged with second-degree assault.

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What really matters at the end of life

Well, we all need a reason to wake up. For me, it just took 11,000 volts.

One night, sophomore year of college, just back from Thanksgiving holiday, a few of my friends and I were horsing around, and we decided to climb atop a parked commuter train. It was just sitting there, with the wires that run overhead. Somehow, that seemed like a great idea at the time. We’d certainly done stupider things. I scurried up the ladder on the back, and when I stood up, the electrical current entered my arm, blew down and out my feet, and that was that. Would you believe that watch still works? Takes a licking!

My father wears it now in solidarity.

That night began my formal relationship with death — my death — and it also began my long run as a patient. It’s a good word. It means one who suffers. So I guess we’re all patients.… Read the rest

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America’s most lethal animal

Animal attacks have been in the news a lot. Late last year, a 22-year-old student in New Jersey was killed by a black bear he had been photographing. This summer, swimmers off the coast of North Carolina have suffered a record number of shark attacks, several of which resulted in amputations. And early in July, a 28-year-old Texas swimmer who ignored warning signs was killed by an alligator.

Of course, not all human-killing animals are so large. Each year, dozens of Americans die due to bites by venomous snakes, lizards and spiders. Other small animals such as ticks and fleas, though not naturally outfitted with their own lethal weaponry, can nonetheless kill by transmitting deadly infections, such as Powassan virus.

Worldwide, the animal responsible for by far the greatest number of human deaths is just such an insect that transmits a deadly infection: the mosquito.… Read the rest

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