Morbid Curiosity

The White House has declared it won’t be releasing the photo of Osama bin Laden’s dead body after a team of Navy SEAL bad asses went into his hideaway compound in Pakistan and took the son-of-a-b*tch out the other day. While most of the world agrees his death is a good thing, the issue of whether or not we should all get to gawk at a gruesome shot of him shortly after a bullet went through his head is apparently quite divisive.

I have to admit that if that photo were released, I wouldn’t be able to help myself from looking. But I can see the side of the administration when they say they believe the photo would be inflammatory and might put lives at risk.

While part of me would want to see that picture, another part of me is relieved I won’t have the opportunity. I almost always regret looking at graphic images after I have seen them and, even though it would be a shot of one of the world’s most horrible people with a bullet hole of justice through his head, I know it would be tough to stomach.

I used to be much more interested in seeing graphic images. I wouldn’t think twice before clicking on an image, even if the disclaimer screamed *Warning: Graphic image!! That only made me want to see it more. Then I read a story about the Catsouras family in California. They lost their precious daughter Nikki when she took her father’s sports car and was tragically killed in a highway crash. The horrid pictures of her crash scene, complete with her decapitated body, were leaked on the internet. Her parents talked about how difficult it was for them to know these images of their daughter were being gawked at by thousands of people out of sheer morbid curiosity when all they wanted was to have remembered as the beautiful young woman she was in life.

After reading that story, I started thinking more before I looked at things I would find online. I’m not saying I haven’t seen anything graphic since that story impacted me, but before I go looking, I think hard about my motivations for wanting to see. If it is just morbid curiosity, I don’t click. Sometimes the image might have a valid, historical or informational reason to for viewing it. But if it is just some gruesome picture of a poor soul in a less-than-desirable condition, I stay away. I hope that by doing so, that I’m contributing in some small way to what Nikki Catsouras’ parents were trying to accomplish by bringing their story public. And I hope if you’re reading this, you’ll think before you click the next time you might have the opportunity to see something graphic. Is it really something you need to view?

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