Archie Andrews spent 73 years in relative peace and bliss.
Archie's death isn't what has the conservative Republicans up in arms. (As I write that last sentence, I'm struggling to remember when Republicans weren't up in arms over something...) They are rather immune to the notion of sympathy. This is an electorate after all who would like to solve our current border crisis with landmines and drawn weapons. Conservatives are very comfortable with death, even the death of children. It isn't the fact that Archie dies, that angers Conservatives; it is how Archie dies that has this moronic electorate frothing.
Issue #75 of Archie Comics will show Archie's last moments of life as bravely jumping in front of a bullet meant for Kevin Keller--Archie Comics' first openly gay character. Keller's character is running for the U.S. Senate on a gun reform platform. A deranged gun man decides he is going to "vote" early and Archie intervenes and dies.
Queue the conservative outrage.
Archie's death has been called, "elitist," a "liberal indoctrination tool," "what happens after 50 years of liberalism," a "mandate for PC behavior," and "liberal propaganda." Genuine fans of Archie are confused and shocked as well, with many wondering what such an extreme story line was ever introduced.
They call it a "propaganda tool." I call it life--ripped from our headlines. Why was Archie shot? Because that is what happens in this country. Despite conservative talking points and countless pro-gun memes floating about the internet, young people are being shot! Sure! The shooters have any number of weapons at their disposal, but they are choosing guns. The movie patrons in Aurora weren't bludgeoned by a baseball bat. The attendees at Gabby Gifford's Tuscon event weren't stabbed. And the children of Sandy Hook weren't forced fed with a fork and died of diabetes. They were shot.
So yes, dear conservatives, Archie will be shot. It isn't as if being shot is all that rare in this country. It's becoming quite fashionable. Yes, there was a gay character and in a comic book! Yes, somebody wanted to kill him. Why that amazes conservatives is beyond me. Just recently we had a conservative candidate advocating for the stoning of gays. Is shooting gays that big of a stretch of the imagination? Maybe Keller's sexuality is secondary to conservatives and they object to his fictional gun reform platform or the notion that someone might try to kill him over it.
Is that so hard to believe?
Conservatives have spent many years and much energy telling non-conservatives what "sheeple" they are and how they don't "see the big picture." Since 2009, you've had to notice the record number of forensic accountants among conservatives who understand our deficit and recession. There is no end to the list of foreign policy "experts." Name your issue and conservatives are certain "liberals" caused it. For all their "mastery" of knowledge, claims of pending doom, worries about our economy, and emphasis on social issues, the grown men and women of the Republican Party actually give a shit about the death of a fictional character.
I shouldn't be surprised. It isn't the first time that the GOP have cited fictional children characters as "indoctrination tools" or contrived some "anti-conservative" message to tether to fictional characters. What is striking about the conservative reaction to Archie's death, is that the outrage over a fictional character dwarfs, much of our real world death.
Archie wasn't gunned down for some "indoctrination tool." Archie was a price we paid for living in a free society. Isn't this "unsafe freedom" grand?!? Archie was "freedomed to death." I have to wonder what the conservatives reaction would be if Archie had died at his high school, shot to death in the library, like the kids at Columbine. Would we hear any outrage then? We didn't hear any for Sandy Hook or Columbine.
Death in comics is a fairly fluid thing. Publications these days are notorious for "offing" marquee characters in an attempt to boost circulation. In that vain, Archie joins Captain America, Spider-Man, and Superman as "A-listers" killed off. Issue #76 of Archie Comics is said to flash forward one year from the time of Archie's death. The supporting cast will continue on dealing with the aftermath. It's hard to imagine Archie Comics without Archie. Time will tell if Archie's death is final or not.
Who knows... Archie Comics #100 might also be a special double-sized commemorative issue where Jughead wakes up from a bad dream after a run in with bath salts and realizes he was dreaming. For us, our bad dream will continue. Real world "Archie's" will continue to be shoot and killed. They will die in malls, at college, in the high school, or perhaps another grade school. As our bad dream goes, the conservatives will rail on about "freedom," and "liberty" and won't have much outrage for the death of the real world kids. Then again--all bets are off if one of the real world "Archie's" gives their life to protect a gay. Then we might see some outrage from the Right.