March 2, 2012

Media Vita in Morte Sumus: The Sudden Death of Andrew Breitbart

"In the midst of life we are in death. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." -- Book of Common Prayer

The conspiracy theories began, like dubious mushrooms, to pop up around the death of Andrew Breitbart before the portable defibrillators that tried to save his life could be recharged. There's a segment of our population that wouldn't have it any other way; a segment that seeks to always explain the unfair, mystical randomness of the world as the outcome of some vast, dark plan. Breitbart is, to this group, only the latest victim; a man struck in the neck by a poison dart fired from a silenced black helicopter hovering high above a midnight street in Brentwood.

After all, our conspiracists point out, Bretibart had the goods on Obama! He had the videotapes! He had the proof! Positive! At long last! They HAD to get him before he released them!

Always remember: "The Alamo The Maine The Grassy Knoll The Moon Landing Vince Foster!"

Never forget: "Breitbart was too young to die. He was too good to die. He was too essential to our cause to die. THEY did it. AGAIN!"

Really? Well, let me assure one and all as a person who has done it and has been returned to life to tell you: It is actually possible TO JUST DROP DEAD. Yes, strange as it may seem, a man can be just going along in life -- having a drink, talking with friends, making plans, walking home at night along a street in Brentwood -- and simply and quickly fall out of the world. It doesn't take any special powers of the Federal Government or shadowy agents firing poison tipped darts from the shadows. It doesn't take that at all. It only takes a blockage in an artery, it only takes something breaking loose from the wall of an artery and lodging somewhere it is not supposed to be.

It doesn't take long. And, as one who did survive, I know that even with a rapid response of men skilled in saving lives on the street, not very many so stricken have a happy outcome. Nationwide, for every 100 people admitted to the hospital after coronary arrest, only 7 emerge alive from the experience. Only seven. A sobering number indeed.

Like the ad says, "The first sign of heart disease is often sudden death."

I am deeply saddened by the death of Andrew Breitbart. I am concerned with the future of his wife and four (4!) children. I wonder what will happen to his fledgling empire without his charismatic personality and abilities. I am distressed and angered by the insects of the left that celebrate his death. None of that compels me, however, to surrender to the dark and constipated gods of conspiracy theory.

Unless and until some substantial mass of actual evidence is found that confirm, far beyond an unreasonable doubt, that Andrew Breitbart was offed by the sinister secret agents of Barack Obama hovering above Brentwood in their invisibility cloaks, then I'm just going to have to believe that it was, sadly, simply his time. We all, as I know well, have one:

Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at March 2, 2012 9:08 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Andrew will be missed by alot of us - that is certain.

Its important to hold the conspiracy theorists at bay. For if enough of us indulge in that breach of scoietal trust (celebrity assasinations), the peace would end violently and the country would change for hte worse. I truly doubt that the Democrats/USGovernment would be so stupid or petty.

Brietbart is gone, but the message is clear.

Who will pick up the baton?

Posted by: cond0010 at March 2, 2012 10:04 AM

Very good Gerard. Thank you.

My grandfather dropped dead at about 70. My father had a massive heart attack and quintuple bypass at 70. I hope to make it that far and to be able to have my phone fix me up in 20 or so years.

And I remain glad for those men of skill.

I'll toss one back tonight to your health!

Posted by: Mike at March 2, 2012 10:21 AM

I can only say that I wish I had met him in person. But his life is all around us.

When I was a child I was repelled by a fawning LIFE magazine cover photo of Teddy Kennedy in a therapy pool, after "his accident". I suddenly realized that I had a clearer moral compass than any of the adults that ruled my world, and that they were under the spell of a monster that perverted theirs, but would never again pervert mine. (Yes, I arrived at my epiphany a bit earlier in life than our esteemed host.)

Andrew Breitbart did not single-handedly slay that monster, but perhaps with his final efforts he has plunged a knife through its black heart.

Posted by: sherlock at March 2, 2012 10:36 AM

Amen, and thank you for this. Breitbart's loss is terrible, and my prayers go out especially to his family, particularly as a mother of young ones whose husband is 40 and could take better care of himself.

If we cannot accept that sometimes, people just die, then we abandon ourselves to madness, in this particular case seeking after nonexistent conspiracies while abandoning everything the man actually stood for - for one cannot be a "truther" of any stripe and remain focused on Truth, nor love nor beauty nor justice nor the American Way.

Posted by: Julie at March 2, 2012 10:36 AM

His death reminds me of my grandfather's in the manner that it happened. Quickly, and as a man fully engaged in life. My grandfather, far from being a doddering old man, was a vigorous 85 year old, in excellent health and with all his wits. He was in better health at 85 than I am at 50.

Posted by: Jewel at March 2, 2012 11:19 AM

All the comments here are reasonable. Possibility and probability always cross swords.

Posted by: Randall at March 2, 2012 12:00 PM

You can honor Andrew by doing what Andrew did. His whole point was we need to do things to fight the liberals. If you are waiting for the next Andrew, you've missed the point. Become Andrew.

As for conspiracies, the fundamental point is this: conspiracies exist because conspiracy theorists invent them. When you debunk a conspiracy, even when it's done thoroughly enough to convince one of the True Believers, they simply pick another conspiracy. Conspiracies are not about the details of any situation. Conspiracies are about the desperate internal need of some individuals to believe someone is pulling all of the strings. The assistant night-shift manager at The Waffle House needs to know he's being persecuted by Jew Bankers or Reptile Aliens to explain why he's not getting ahead. Or he needs to know the Overlords on Planet X are coming here to kick the butts of the people that have caused him to fail.

Arguing with conspiracy theorists about the details of their conspiracy is a fruitless and self-defeating behavior. It's like correcting the grammar of the crazy guy on the corner talking to himself. The behavior is a symptom of internal dysfunction. One hallmark of a diseased theorist is relying on "evidence" further away from the event and the witnesses. For example, anaylzing what someone far away thinks about a news report of the incident much later. So you have the kooks relying on what modern aeronautical engineers think about a decorative Aztec artifact. They stay far away from Anthropologists that see the development of Aztec designs over time.

There are conventions of many contradictory conspiracy theorists. They can happily mingle because they aren't there to listen, they are there to talk. The thing they have in common is nobody is going to debunk. If you debunk any conspiracy that's what threatens their world. First you believe, then you settle on a story.

Posted by: Scott M at March 2, 2012 1:05 PM

He died too young but the fact is, he died of natural causes. There's no evidence or reason to believe otherwise, but I do understand the fear and frustration that leads people to say this kind of thing (or, in Savage's case, the commercial value).

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at March 2, 2012 2:24 PM

Bill Whittle, over on a piece at PJTV, said he is not surprised at Breitbart's sudden death of apparent heart attack. Whittle and a few other close friends had been aware for some time of Breitbart's heart issues -- apparently he had had previous attacks -- and were urging him to take better care of himself. Sad indeed.

Posted by: Grizzly at March 2, 2012 4:12 PM

I love the Conspiracy demotivator. I am so stealing that.

Great comment, Scott M. So trying to use logic and reason with a conspiracy believer is similar to trying to argue with a liberal using logic and reason?

That said, conspiracies do happen, sometimes. The assassinations of Julius Caesar and Abraham Lincoln both involved well-documented conspiracies. There has been a number of reporters who have been killed in Russia in recent years. We have a very dangerous gang of leftists in power in the US today, and if history teaches us anything, radical leftists have no compunction about killing to seize and maintain power.

So the ground is very fertile for conspiracy theories, and what's worse, they're plausible. I would just suggest that conspiracy should not be an explanation of first resort.

Posted by: rickl at March 2, 2012 5:43 PM


"Death. Been There. Done That." You need the t-shirt.

As for Andrew Breitbart's heart problems, there is one thing I noticed from all the things I have read lately. He was a man who went to bed at 2 a.m. and rose up early.

There are certain chemicals that help with the restoration of the blood vessels and the main arteries. The trick is, they are activated while we sleep. Only when a person has a full-night's rest - from seven to eight hours a night - can those chemicals fully restore those vessels for the day ahead.

Andrew wasn't sleeping enough for that nightly restoration to take place. He needed his 7 to 8. He must have rarely taken it. He might have been quite stressed out. He must have carried a burden too heavy to be carried alone. He needed his rest, his relaxation time. Even heroes need some down time.

He was restless, but even the restless ones need their Z's.

Let this be a lesson for us. Take care of your health. If you have heart problems, make sure you have a good rapport with your physician. Eat the right things. Exercise. If you need to shed some pounds, do it. Your heart will thank you.

Do it for yourself.

I began to take care of my health a few years ago. From an all-time high of 232 lbs, I have so far gone down to 172, and aim for more. So, I'm quite grateful to feel a healthier ticker, even though I now have to take HBP medication.

Posted by: newton at March 2, 2012 6:59 PM

Here's the Bill Whittle video that Grizzly mentioned:

Posted by: rickl at March 2, 2012 7:39 PM

When Andrew said in a recent interview "Wait til they see what happens on March 1st" him dying was not at all what he had in mind.

I'm not a big conspiracy theory guy but when I read that he had said that I'll admit that it gave me pause.

I do understand that sometimes people just die, even at 43. I also understand that sometimes people are killed at 43.

Not jumping on any bandwagon but it sure would be easy to do so.

Posted by: Aubrey at March 3, 2012 5:27 AM

Gerard One wins the battle and ultimately the war by fighting on their terms, not the 'We're above the fray' crap.
This isn't a matter of 'TRUTH' but of the perceived truth as offered.

LBJ had it right! Accuse, let them deny it.
Nice loses.

Posted by: Peccable at March 3, 2012 5:51 AM

Conspiracy facts are always deduced from a conspiracy theory that is itself axiomatic. Which is why the theory can never be disproved. Like leftism.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at March 3, 2012 7:03 AM

Thread Winner: Scott M

I am Andrew. What, me apologize?

I shall remember my fellow Tulane alumnus Andrew Breitbart with happiness, joy, and a zest for life and liberty. His brilliance burned his enemies and enlightened the growing numbers in his army of patriots. Truth was his weapon. He used it to strip the lies of America's destroyers down to their naked ugliness for all to clearly see. We who love freedom must become Andrew or submit to tyranny.

Posted by: twolaneflash at March 3, 2012 10:05 AM