Richard and Rachel

Richard Cory “put a bullet through his head.”

Rachel Corrie chose to die by bulldozer.

Contemplating the difference between the poem and real-life, one might pause to wonder if there actually is any. Suicide was intended in both cases.

Rachel Corrie was willing to be crushed lifeless by a bulldozer in defense of her ideals, but those who make her into a martyr have yet to show similar backbone. Perhaps it is merely that they are not quite so deluded. Perhaps the ideals of her leaders in this action were somewhat different: Rachel was merely a useful idiot.

Rachel, after all, was defending Hamas against Israel and against the United States, whose flag she burned for world-wide coverage.

So, one has to ask of her leaders in “peace” ;
In Rachel’s memory, if not in defense of your own principles, why are you not bodily shielding innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq right now? Why are you not defending innocent women and children where they are being murdered daily?

Soldiers of the United States are defending those people with their very lives. Is that why you will not? You confront soldiers of Israel and the United States, but not those of al-Qaeda, Iran or Cuba – is that dichotomy because you know who the real murderers and torturers are?

Please. If your actions are guided by principled anti-violence, tell us why your moral and mortal suasion is absent from the places where real danger to your principles resides?“

The answer, of course, has already been given: Israel is an Abomination; and the United States is Imperialist. Therefore, innocent people killed by fanatic third parties are not worthy casualties. They’re dupes or victims.

This is 180 degrees out of phase. The common thread of Richard Cory and Rachel Corrie is that they are both moral frauds.

There are no peace activist “human shields” placing their bodies between terrorist murderers and Afghani women or Iraqi children, because the people who equate “human shield” rhetoric with effortless “martyrdom” have an agenda different from the one they claim, not to mention a very healthy respect for their personal well-being – if not for, say, Rachel Corrie’s.

Maybe Rachel Corrie just slipped up. She didn’t plan to die. So what? She knew as well as Richard Cory that fraud only sustains so far. If she was deluded or otherwise, her “leaders” remain grateful for the PR boon.

Richard’s fictional acquaintances revered him until his shocking death. Rachel’s admirers magnify her sad demise to their advantage. Neither was a martyr, but Richard had better human relationships.