Tragedy to the Nth degree

Lasting images:

I know this article is way old but I’ve been waiting for when I had some free time to post it.

This is the exact reason why I think graphic images and videos of actual deaths should be outlawed. Yes I really mean outlawed.

Lesli Catsouras hasn’t opened her e-mails in weeks.

Her husband, Christos, dreads having to use the Internet , fearful of what he accidentally may see.

They have banned their daughters , ages 15, 13 and 8 , from going online.

Losing oldest daughter Nikki, 18, in a car crash on Halloween has been hard enough on the Catsouras family.

Now, their heartache is compounded by outrage.

Graphic accident-scene photos, including close-up shots of Nikki, who suffered massive head trauma, have been leaked onto the Internet.

The images have turned up on hundreds of Web sites and in countless chat rooms and e-mails , from Australia to Italy. The photos often are accompanied by debates about the merits of the images, with many viewers even vilifying the dead teen.

“We’re still just starting to deal with Nikki’s death, and now this,” said Christos Catsouras, 43. “People are sick.”

The family blames the leak on the California Highway Patrol, the agency that is investigating the crash. The family has filed a claim against the state as a precursor to a civil lawsuit. The CHP is investigating.

As they continue to grieve, members of the Catsouras family also find themselves struggling to restore some dignity to Nikki’s memory , and facing seemingly insurmountable odds to establish some decency in the sometimes insidious, unforgiving grip of the Internet.

The photos are so pervasive, Nikki’s 15-year-old sister has stopped going to school out of fear of opening her locker and seeing a photo of her dead sister. She now is being home schooled.

A 12-year-old neighbor who accidentally saw the images is seeing a counselor, according to Christos Catsouras.

Some people have anonymously sent cruel, taunting e-mails to Nikki’s relatives , including one to her father that read, “From Dead Girl Walking: Woo Hoo Daddy, I’m Alive.”

I do see the merit in pictures like this but only in the hand of trained professionals. Criminologists and such. Not the freakin’ death mutants who get off on seeing other people’s actual suffering.

Free speech has its limits. This should be one of them.

Link via digg.