Nikki Catsouras (Article moved from whimsydreams.net)

(Original article dated May 6, 2009 – whimsydreams.net)

I’ve been torn about whether or not to write an article about Nikki Catsouras. I read her story in Newsweek just a few days ago and was shocked to see today’s CNN headline: “Gory images of dead teen spread online”.

If you Google ‘Nikki Catsouras’, you’ll find that her entire life has become a careless, insensitive string of bylines. Porsche Girl. Dead Porsche Girl. Crash Photos. Grisly crash photos. Decapitated. My first thought after reading Newsweek’s article was, “My God. Her poor family.” The aftermath of their daughter’s accident was so gruesome that the coroner refused to let the family view the body.

Then my next thought…what if something like that happened to our daughter? How would we as parents react if our daughters’ documented cruel and violent last moments were spread around like flyers in a parking lot? It seems cruel enough to have to lose a child…but then to have that child die over and over again via the internet for the amusement and curiosity of the masses. Psychologists claim it’s a common reaction similar to wanting to gawk at a car accident as you drive by. We all sit and read about these people who are posting these accident photos, thinking to ourselves, “What kind of a person would DO that sort of thing?!” Are we all capable of such despicable behavior?

The majority of us are familiar with Milgram’s Obedience Study that took place in the 1960’s. The study was grounded on one question: “If someone told you to press a button to deliver a 450-volt electrical shock to an innocent person in the next room, would you do it?”

Of course we wouldn’t! That’s ludicrous to even assume! But the results from that study showed that the majority of us would. Which is probably why thousands and thousands of people troll the internet every hour of every day, searching for something that they may have never thought themselves capable of viewing.

I don’t even know where to go with this post. I’m disgusted with what we as human beings are capable of inflicting on each other. And where did this all begin? Two officers, Thomas O’Donnell and Aaron Reich, from the California Highway Patrol. They leaked the photos and are now claiming they’ve “done nothing wrong” and aren’t legally responsible for the pain and anguish it caused the family.

Not legally responsible? What about morally responsible? The whole term “Legally” has become a catchall for violations swept under the rug. Yeah, I killed them, but TECHNICALLY you can’t convict me. LEGALLY you can’t convict me.

So I guess I’ll wrap this up by virtually pointing my finger at Thomas O’Donnell and Aaron Reich. Two men who stood and took a sworn oath. One that promises to preserve the dignity and respect of all individuals. Since they seem to have forgotten what exactly that oath was, may this post serve as their reminder.

I DO SOLEMNLY DECLARE UPON MY HONOUR AND CONSCIENCE THAT I WILL ACT AT ALL TIMES TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY AND KNOWLEDGE IN A MANNER BEFITTING A POLICE OFFICER.

I WILL PRESERVE THE DIGNITY AND WILL RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF ALL INDIVIDUALS.

I WILL DISCHARGE MY DUTIES WITH INTEGRITY AND WILL PROMOTE UNDERSTANDING AND CONCILIATION.

I WILL EXERCISE MY AUTHORITY AS A POLICE OFFICER IN THE MANNER INTENDED BY THE LAW.

I WILL FAITHFULLY OBEY THE ORDERS OF MY SUPERIORS AND WILL BE READY TO CONFRONT DANGER IN THE LINE OF DUTY.

I WILL ACT WITH HONESTY, COURTESY AND REGARD FOR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS, AND WILL ENDEAVOUR TO DEVELOP THE ESPRIT DE CORPS.

I WILL ACT JUSTLY AND IMPARTIALLY AND WITH PROPRIETY TOWARDS MY FELLOW OFFICERS.

I WILL CONSTANTLY STRIVE TO HONOUR THIS OATH IN MY SERVICE AS A POLICE OFFICER.

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