Is It Wrong that Death is so Accessible to the Public?

I sent this link to Sociological Images, but just in case it doesn’t get posted there I’m copying my email here to hopefully get some of your opinions on the topic:

Good Afternoon,
I thought this related to your recent post about the LAPD exhibit:

I didn’t watch this video and won’t, but I read the post (Perez Hilton) and it sounds like a really disturbing video where a man is killed when he is tased and chokes on something. It makes me sick how easy it is to watch someone die on YouTube. I’m curious to hear what your take is on videos like this one being posted (don’t worry, this video doesn’t start playing when you open the link):

I don’t really know what to think about these types of videos being so accessible. On the one hand, it’s sad to think that people are being entertained by videos of tragic deaths. But I’ve heard it argued that we no longer face death, we separate ourselves from death and use euphemisms to describe it (passed away, no longer with us), so maybe it’s healthy to be exposed to death. I’m not convinced that that’s a good argument for videos like this one being out there for anyone to see.
Curious to hear your thoughts, big fan of your blog!
-Lindsay

What do you think of these types of videos?

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2 Responses to “Is It Wrong that Death is so Accessible to the Public?”


  1. 1 Eric March 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Very disturbing video.

    I’m not sure what my opinion is on the larger issue.

    I do think, in general, we’re too distant from both death and to a lesser extent violence.

    I think seeing violence & death in an unflinching, unglamorized way can only help spread empathy.

  2. 2 kevinbbg March 10, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    There are entire DVD’s filled with especially violent deaths that have some really hard core fans. A lot of people love that stuff, can’t understand it myself.

    I think it could be useful for people to have a very real knowledge of death and violence, perhaps they would view their own lives differently and appreciate them all the more, but I don’t think videos are the way to do it.

    It is death and violence at a distance so you don’t get the real horror of it shoved in your face and real blood splattered on your cheeks. It lessens it and makes people think it’s not all that bad, desensitizing us so instead of avoiding violence and death like the horrors they are they might commit horrors under the right circumstances. And do so easily.


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