Catharsis versus celebration — pictures of the corpse

If you’re not squeamish, you might want to wander over to Dan Riehl’s blog, where he has posted a very graphic picture that is alleged to be of Tamarlan Tsarnaev’s bloodied corpse, complete with a gaping hole in the side put there by doctors trying to save him (or, perhaps, to hasten the inevitable).

The picture’s interesting, but what’s more interesting is what the Boston police had to say about it:

The image of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, dead and naked on a slab, snapped by an unknown person, was e-mailed repeatedly by law enforcement officers Friday.

“Suspect 1” was written above the gruesome picture.

Seeing a photo of one of the Marathon bombing suspects dead was cathartic, said one law enforcement official who saw the picture.

Passing it around was a rare chance “to revel” while other officers searched for Tsarnaev’s brother, Dzhokhar, the official said. “Mission accomplished. We’re halfway there. Justice is served.”

I sympathize completely with the police.  They are experiencing the warriors’ subdued, albeit cathartic, pleasure in seeing dead someone who planted a bomb that, mere days before, killed three people and horribly wounded dozens of others, and who hours before had killed one of their own (correction:  killed two of their own).

In this regard, I believe that the police’s response, and their covert circulation amongst themselves of something that’s not quite a war trophy, but is a proof of success, is completely distinguishable from the Muslims in Gaza (a place that Boston liberals strongly support) who danced in the streets and handed out candy to celebrate the death of an 8-year-old boy among others.  Wildly, joyously celebrating an innocent’s death, even if the death occurs in what you perceive as a war, is barbaric.  There’s no other word for it.

A civilized nation will do what it needs to do to win a defensive war, but it never loses sight of its morality.  It mourns the innocents, even as it acknowledges that their deaths may be necessary.  Having said that, though, I think any law enforcement or military that has engaged in a fierce battle is entitled to have proof positive that its direct enemy — the one firing bullets and throw bombs at it — is actually dead.  That’s cathartic, not immoral or barbaric.

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  1. Mike Devx says

    This smallish anecdote about the younger brother terrorist bomber is telling to me.  I think we can rely on the truth of this anecdote:
    Allan said Tsarnaev was trained by his father, who was also a skilled boxer. And he was always respectful. “They were an incredible family….This was so shocking to me.”
    But Tsarnaev hadn’t been to the Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts center in years, instead going to another nearby boxing gym. Until this month. Allan, who is currently traveling in Thailand, got an e-mail within the past week saying Tsarnaev showed up at the gym acting rude and disrespectful, using other people’s equipment, walking on the mats with his shoes.
    “It was a clear indication that something was up,” Allan said, noting that Tsarnaev hadn’t even been to his gym before the incident in years. “He was becoming a complete [expletive].
    “It was completely out of place of place for him,” said Allan, who was also contacted by the FBI about Tamerlan.
    This change in the younger brother – a change which has occurred within the last year or even few months – is likely attributable to radicalist jihadist Islam.  We’ll have to wait a few days to be certain of this.  (The two brothers don’t appear to have been very secretive; they just slipped through the cracks.)  
    I think we will find, when we trace the influences on this younger brother, a trail that leads back to a mosque that preached radical, violent, murderous jihad.  It will probably be Salafist.  It will probably have been financed by Saudi Arabia.
    What it means to me…  I think we have to take the gloves off when it comes to radical jihadist Islamic influence, and by this I specifically mean the mosques, where Salafist Islam, in particular and financed here and across the world by Saudi Arabia, is the real danger.  Quite simply, they recruit the young, radicalize them into fanatics, and turn them into death machines with no value for other lives nor for their own.  
    Certainly we can find a way, within our legal system and culture,  to distinguish between freedom of religion and speech – which I personally allow for most of Islam – and stomping on these vicious Salafist mosque monsters, which I do not condone and would not allow.

  2. gracepmc says

    This guy looked Jeff Bauman right in the eye when he placed the bomb down at his feet and walked away.  Jeff Bauman lost both his legs, woke up and identified Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the terrorist.  His picture was posted and we caught him.  Tsarnaev dead terrorist.  Bauman hero.  War is hell.  Justice.

  3. says

    I don’t know about this photo, Book. 
    Is there a doctor in the (bookworm) room? because I have some questions. (Yes. I have looked repeatedly at the photo.) For starters, notice where your own left nipple is, and where your navel is. Now follow the path of your left rib cage around to your left side. That “gaping hole put there by doctors” would have to cut through ribs, don’t you think. 
    I can well imagine that it was a pre-existing gaping hole. But I cannot imagine that it was put there by doctors. At the very least, I’d like a surgeon to visually diagram why it’s not through ribs. 
    I have other questions as well. 

  4. says

    Sorry. Maybe I should round out my point. Why would a surgeon cut through ribs like that to get at the heart/lungs/ other vitals beneath them? You cut up the mid-line. 
    Looks photoshopped to me. But I’m no expert.

  5. says

    Marica, the photo has been verified as true and untouched. The wound in question, I agree, was not made by a surgeon. The incision is jagged whereas a surgeon cut would be smooth and sure whether straight or curved. During the fire fight Tamerlan Tsarnaev hurled a pressure cooker bomb at the police. The top separated immediately before detonation causing the two parts to fly in opposite directions. My unschooled opinion is that Tamerlan was hit by one of the pieces, possibly the top flying through the air like a frisbee cut him pretty good. It’s my understanding that he was in full cardiac arrest when he arrived at Beth Israel Hospital after several minutes of CPR.

  6. SADIE says

    The corpse was wearing some type of suicide vest or he had set off some device that created the damage. The bloodied head, I believe is due to the shots fired at it.

  7. says

    I’m not sure why people are fascinated by corpse shots. It is as if they need some kind of validation to know that someone is dead.
    Someone is dead when you kill them with your own hands. It’s pretty simple to me.

  8. Caped Crusader says

    Marica #4,5
    I find it impossible to believe you are from Mississippi and have never eaten ribs! I am a retired surgeon, although not a thoracic one. It is common to cut through an intercostal space, which is muscle, to enter the thoracic cavity; then insert this midieval looking instrument called a rib spreader, to enlarge the entry access. Rib bone is not cut. Entry through the midline and sternum (breastbone) is much harder and more time consuming in an emergency situation, and is mostly performed doing controlled elective heart procedures. They may have tried manual heart compression.

  9. Zhombre says

    Yes, the difference is in Boston the body was not sodomized, desecrated, dragged through the streets and then hung from a bridge like carrion. Its clinical treatment, of and by itself, is a rebuke to the barbarians.

  10. jj says

    I’ll be the discordant note.  It just rubs me in so many wrong ways.  In my life I’ve known, been related to, and interacted with so many genuine warriors, who took part in everything from the Civil War right through those presently taking part.  The cemetery at West Point is replete with relatives – for some reason most of them lie there; there are only a handful at Arlington.  Genuine warriors in genuine wars – not cops.  Leaders of warriors in genuine wars, two great-uncles at the Point were general officers.  (One from the turn of the previous century; the other was Uncle Bill from WWII, whom I have mentioned before in other connections.)  Most of them weren’t trophy collectors, nor were they gloaters.  I wasn’t particularly confided in regarding anybody’s need for catharsis, but I’m quite sure that need wasn’t met by souvenir postcards.  They weren’t – and aren’t – the type to require aide-memoirs beyond what was in their heads. 
    Having known a hell of a lot of warriors, I confess I am unable to actually put my finger on the warrior’s “subdued but cathartic pleasure in seeing dead somebody…” who did much of anything.  Most guys seem to be yawning at the end of a battle, or fire-fight: they’re tired.  They’ve been working and maintaining a very high order of attention, their emotions are at a bit of a low ebb by the time the last shot’s fired.  Unless Joe Galloway’s along, hardly anybody takes pictures during, or in the immediate aftermath of the action.  Even the guys who nailed Saddam Hussein and bin-Laden don’t seem to have made time for photos, and, though I imagine there are official record-keeping and documentation pictures, the actual warriors who did the jobs don’t seem to have bothered.
    I don’t know.  As I said: rubs me wrong.  Just another distasteful attribute of all-too-many cops, who seem as a body to suffer from such an overwhelming need to prove something-or-other… it just gets really old.  I worry about the cops, the “special” (aren’t we all just special!) agents, the DHS, and the rest of the alphabet soup.  Far too many of them seem to be dopes; they’re tougher than Godzilla with a headache; they eat nails and rocks for breakfast – and the need to gloat’s really unseemly as hell.  (Hard to buy “cathartic.”  If there were a thousand “lore enfawcement” people there, maybe you’d find as many as fifty who could spell “cathartic.”  Maybe.)
    You know, boys and girls, you all want to be tougher than a sack of hammers then stop terrorizing little old ladies at airports, or those going six miles an hour over the speed limit – and join the military.  Stop advertising how tough you are, and go prove it.  (Of course the difficulty with that is most of you’d probably rejected by the military, but so few of you have tried it should be humiliating.)
    Circulating a photograph of a dead guy is just distasteful.  Lore enfawcement types aren’t notable – never were – for taste, but still.  Don’t feed me a line of crap about “catharsis,” I’m afraid I don’t buy it.  That was gloating, pure and simple.  Tough to pretend otherwise.

  11. Michael Adams says

    Yeah, what Dr. Crusader said. I’ve seen this many times.  It’s called “cracking the chest.” The incision is in the side, the ribs are spread and you reach in and squeeze the heart in a sort of reverse milking movement. It’s what you do when the patient has lost so much blood that ordinary CPR has nothing to pump.  You can also use the internal defibrillator on the heart, and there would be a coarctation clamp applied to the aorta, so that what you pumped went only to the lungs and brain. When we did this we ran the patient straight to the OR, if we got a rhythm. Once  the patient was on the perfusion pump, “heart-lung machine,” and a couple of units of O neg were being pumped in,  the surgeon could seek out and sew up the places where blood was leaking out in a serious way. It’s very much a last ditch effort. As others have noted, there was no sodomy involved, no dragging through the streets, etc.

  12. Caped Crusader says

    jj #11
    Could not agree more. We are accumulating more and more Keystone Cops with different 3 letters on the back of their jackets showing up at the big time fiascoes with none of them having the slightest idea what the others are doing. Do we really NEED 15 kinds of law enforcement providers? At the climax I actually saw a mob of guys with DEA on their jackets. Were these guys suspected of also violating drug laws? Currently doctors are being hassled by new laws requiring that you consult a national website to make sure patients are not receiving multiple prescriptions of controlled substances from the mildest tranquilizer to the most potent pain reliever (can see this); while at the same time there is a great push to legalize marijuana, which is much more dangerous than mild sedatives and alcohol. None of it makes sense and want to bet how much good it will do? Fifty years ago the drug problem was practically non existent until the government decided to “solve” the problem. My first license in 1960 was $! and was good for a lifetime. Now each doctor pays @$200/year for a DEA license to prescribe; but it’s worth it to know the government has eradicated the drug problem (TIC).

  13. says

    A police state always needs that. Because there are always 12 secret police for every 1 shown. Obviously the public face must be strong to deter would be vigilantes… especially from those anti-government factions.

  14. says

    The police in this case had to resort to asking the public to inform on their fellows.
    Next time, they’ll ask you to find out where Sarah Palin and her affiliates are hiding, because we all know they are responsible for this new terrorist attack.
    And people will respond with….? Something similar to Obedience to Obama in 2008 perhaps?

  15. Beth says

    Yes, everybody is special and everybody is a hero.  Seeing that photo was for some of the hundreds of uniformed men and women the closest they got to the ‘scene’.  No doubt it soothed many minds so they could actually walk erect when the media hails them all as Heros!”.  Makes me sick really.  Sick of the hero worship.

  16. KellyM says

    Massachusetts and Boston in particular has always had this thing about different police forces and their separate turf. At one point, in addition to the Mass State Police and BPD, there was the Capitol Police (strictly the statehouse and immediate environs) MBTA police, MDC Police (the force which patrolled the public parks such as the Esplanade and other parks along the Emerald Necklace), not to mention the separate Mounted Patrol for the Boston Common and Public Garden. They might have been BPD or perhaps National Park Service, since these areas overlapped with the Freedom Trail. Sheesh. 
    To jj#11: you’re probably right that it was more than a little gloating. There are times when Bostonians have a larger than life sense of arrogance for no good reason. (and I say that as a Bostonian). I think it’s part of the big brother-little brother complex we have with New York that drives everything else. But corpse shots go way back. Didn’t they get printed on the front page of newspapers back in the day? The old “if it bleeds, it leads” mantra?
    I will say one thing though: I was very proud of my fellow Bostonians who did rush in as others fled and saved people. If we learned one thing from our brethren in NY it was that.

  17. Ron19 says

    Bloodied corpse?
    The pattern of discoloration, especially on the neck of the otherwise cleaned up corpse, from the first I’ve always thought it looked like flash-burn rather than blood.

  18. Spartacus says

    According to Watertown police chief (I think), the story is now that Beantown Blaster Brother #1 met his demise while being handcuffed.  Brother #2 hopped in a SUV and floored it right toward #1 and the two officers handcuffing him.  Officers dived out of the way; #1 was not able to do the same and did his best impression of a speedbump.
    Sounds a bit sketchy to me, but it would seem to explain the massive bruising on the face and shoulder.  (Is that a Mercedes-shaped bruise?  I can’t quite tell.)
    So, here is #2, blowing up the citizens of Boston in the afternoon, and hanging out and partying with them in the evening (cognitive dissonance, anyone?); making a vehicular getaway with his older brother *under* the vehicle; and trying to escape the police in a boat… which was on dry land.
    In celebration of 4/20, I have to ask… if this is our weekly sample of a pothead, do we *really* want to legalize that stuff?  (“Dude… just stay mellow, man… real slow, I’ll pass you this bag of Cheetos if, real slow, you’ll just set down that amendment to the appropriations bill, and no one has to get hurt…”)

  19. Spartacus says

    Good point, SADIE.  Normally, carjacking in Massachusetts is a Class II felony.  If the car has a COEXIST bumper sticker, it’s Class III, but since the perp could be considered an oppressed minorty, it gets knocked back down to Class I.*
    * Liability to you for faulty legal advice provided pro bono by unlicensed BS artists you meet on the Internet is strictly limited the the amount paid for such services.  Your sole remedy is to torture by pun.

  20. says

    Mixed Martial Arts aren’t a bad place to train for those who know what they want to do in the arts.
    It’s just that unlike traditional or Asian lineages, they don’t particularly care about your spiritual or personal development. That’s up to you. A very hands off, American like approach.

  21. Caped Crusader says

    Thanks Beth!! Great article !! My thoughts and sentiments exactly. This is why nearly all these tragedies seem to occur in deep blue states and gun free shooting zones. These cowards do not want to take the risk of someone shooting back w/o “expert professional help”. Don’t hold your breath until libtards make the connection! Liberalism is a MENTAL disorder!

  22. says

    The more the slave gets whipped by the master, the better the slave finds plantation life. Since given how harsh it is, freedom outside with the dark unknown, must be even worse.
    The same applies for those living in Democrat fiefdoms.

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