The death of a friend is always hard.
The death of a friend who died well before their time is even harder.
I've seen too many people die of cancer in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
I've seen even more people whose lives were profoundly disrupted and probably shortened by aggressive cancers.
Especially since Fukushima.
Thyroid cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer top the list but there are many forms that have afflicted my friends.
So many of these cancers likely derive from the chemical and radioactive pollution we generate with our risk-laden "defense," energy, chemical, and agricultural industries. Those industries are not sustainable and they routinely externalize their costs. Their leaders exhibit the dangers of moral hazard.
Anyone who pays attention to the natural world around them knows that we are in a "great extinction" event and that event has accelerated in certain regions of the world, especially those impacted most by the March 2011 chemical tsunami and nuclear explosions.
I saw the changes in insects, birds, and bats here in AZ. I saw the collapse of animal life in La Jolla's tide pools,
We are causing mass mortalities and we are lying about the causes, especially when it comes to human health by attributing diseases such as cancer primarily to "lifestyle" choices with little-to-no consideration for the increasingly toxic environment we are creating.
So each case of cancer, autism, ADHD, Parkinsons, Alzheimers is treated as an isolated medical case with the disease mapped onto "genes" or lifestyle or just random mutations (i.e., "bad luck").
The victims of industrial-military disregard are encouraged to think positive thoughts, subject themselves to medical authority and protocols, and fight death until the end.
I've not read Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright Sided yet but I think she deconstructs our narrative of "positive thoughts" http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113758696
When our friends die we are encouraged to think upon their accomplishments and applaud their fight for life.
But, what I want to do is "rage against the machine" when a friend dies before their time of a disease that was very likely caused by rampant pollution and governmental disregard.
I want to broadcast that they were likely killed because someone did a cost-benefit analysis, probably based on flawed data, of the benefits of the polluting process versus the costs.
Representations of costs typically grossly under-state biological effects since dose-effects research is based on (often questionable) short-term laboratory studies that focus exclusively on lethality. Moreover, cost-benefit accounting must in the US also include the costs to the pollution producer for reducing their polluting processes.
The public never was given the opportunity for informed consent when it came to atmospheric testing. The public was never given the opportunity for informed consent when it came to the toxic chemicals used in our agricultural systems. Public opinion has been so manipulated with respect to the risks of chemicals and radiation that elementary schools are routinely saturated with pesticides, herbicides, and wireless radiation.
Toxic systems produce sick individuals. How sick do we have to get before we recognize that truth?
Friends who die before their time, whose deaths are de-politicized by pink ribbons, are symptoms of a toxic, corrupted, and unsustainable system that does not operate democratically, does not operate in accord with the collective will.
In mourning friends who died before their time, I will remember them fondly while also deconstructing the individualization of their passing by locating their deaths within the military-industrial context of the production of so much of our dis-ease.