Rich and Margie: Please send out to the team immediately. I hope all
three of you have the current team email addresses so we can make sure
EVERYONE is getting these emails three times. One from each of you. We
can't miss anyone again with training announcements or team business.
am very concerned about our personal information getting compromised.
Laura Corriveau sent us the email below concerning someone posing to be
from FEMA and trying to get her personal information over the phone.
on, if anyone wants your information, and they call over the phone, you
can refer them to me or Rich Lipich or do as Laura did, tell them to get
nothing to do with FEMA as we are now under DHHS. So I can only assume
that the incident below was a scammer trying to phish for your personal
information so they can steal your identity. This is a very sensitive
time since we are all doing paper work and emails for this transition.
Any phone call to you at this time would almost sound official. So I
feel we are very vulnerable with an official calling us to verify our
information for the transition. Please be aware that there is the email
for the background checks. This is legitimate, but if you have any
questions at all as to the authenticity of any correspondence, please
call and check into it. I would hate to have any of you get your
HQ and haven't heard back from them so I am sending this out to you
without any verification from HQ. Nonetheless, they should not be doing
this over the phone. We have the ERIC hotline, etc for this kind of
verification (except for the background checks which will be an email).
So, be very careful. Only give information to requests from the Command
Staff and no one else and watch carefully on the background check
I had a lady call my cell phone this weekend, said she was
from FEMA and needed to confirm all my personal info. I
refused and told her I don't do that over the phone, to send
me some official paperwork. I told her the government has
all my info and to use that to mail it to me. I refused to
give her my address. Have not gotten anything yet.
From: "Gary A Refsland"
CC: "Lance Peterson " <email@example.com>,"Lance
Peterson " <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: FW: Protection
of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
>Subject: Protection of Personally Identifiable Information
>Recently, data for nearly 600,000 households enrolled in
TRICARE, a military
>health care system for active duty, retirees, and their
family members, were
>potentially compromised by hackers attempting to access a
>contractor's unprotected computer server. (See related
>Protection of Personally Identifiable Information, or PII,
is a top priority
>of the Federal government in general, and the Department of
Health and Human
>Services, in particular. Earlier this year, ASAM
participated in a
>Department-wide inventory of electronic data systems that
process or store
>PII, to ensure appropriate security measures are applied.
>laptops used by ASAM personnel were updated with data
>Knowing which ASAM systems contain PII and safeguarding
data on mobile
>computers are important, but even more important is
employee awareness and
>To learn more about IT security awareness and training,
visit the HHS Office
>of the Chief Information Officer website at http://www.hhs.gov/ocio/
>Some TRICARE Beneficiary Data Put At Risk
>By Fred W. Baker III
>American Forces Press Service
>WASHINGTON, July 20, 2007 - Data for nearly 600,000
households enrolled in
>TRICARE stored on a government-contractors unprotected
computer server could
>have been exposed to hackers, defense officials announced
>We take this potential data compromise very seriously, said
Army Maj. Gen.
>Elder Granger, deputy director, TRICARE Management
Activity. The risk has
>been identified as low, but as a result of this unfortunate
>Department of Defense is ensuring that steps are taken to
>Beneficiaries names, addresses, Social Security Numbers,
birth dates and
>some health information was stored on a computer server
that was not using a
>firewall and did not have adequate password protection,
>Activity officials said.
>Officials disabled the server in May, and it is no longer
>analysis of the server found no evidence that any
>was compromised, said Leslie Shaffer, assistant privacy
officer at the
>Science Applications International Corp. maintained the
data in Shalimar,
>Fla., and used it to process several military health care
>including those for customers in the Army, Navy, Air Force
and Coast Guard.
>The server allowed for File Transfer Protocol transmissions
of the data to
>its contract customers.
>This is the first time SAIC has violated Defense Department
>security procedures, Shaffer said.
>The TRICARE security breach was discovered after contract
>non-secure transmissions of data. SAIC is investigating and
>have been placed on administrative leave pending the
outcome, a company
>I can assure you that the individuals responsible for
managing that server
>were not following standard operating procedures. DoD has
>guidance on how we protect sensitive data, Shaffer said.
>Since May, SAIC has been processing the data, matching it
>information so the beneficiaries could be notified.
>We're taking precautions to do everything we can within DoD,
>and the TRICARE Management Activity to ensure that our
>notified, Shaffer said. We have been working closely with
SAIC to ensure all
>our procedures are being followed.
>DoD and SAIC are mailing letters this week to beneficiaries
whose data was
>put at risk. An incident response center has been setup to
>toll-free calls and information is available through a
Website for those who
>suspect identity theft, or who want to protect themselves
>Beneficiaries who were put at risk are also being offered a
>subscription to an identity restoration service, she said.
>I think anyone who receives a letter should take the
protections that are
>necessary to ensure their data has not been compromised,
she said. Those
>numbers are available. I would recommend that the
beneficiary use those
>The incident response center can be reached toll free
within the United
>States at 1-888-862-2680, or collect at 1-515-365-3550 from
Coroner Investigative News
“Childhood Death and Injuries”
James L. Kramer MPAS, PA-C
Pueblo County Coroner
Childhood Death and Injuries
Injury – A risk at any stage of Life, CDC
Injury Fact Book 2006 states that “at every age, from our earliest days to our
golden years, we are at risk for injury and that disability and death can
result. No age is a safe age when it comes to injuries and violence.”
The CDC tracks and monitors the injuries and violence that
occur at different life stages and examines factors related to those life stages
that increase or decrease a person’s risk for injury.
Identifying the risks and events will help create
prevention programs to the needs, preferences, and life circumstances of
particular age groups.
Infants and Toddlers ( Ages 0 – 3)
- The CDC identified that nearly 3,100 children ages 3
and under died in 2002 from injuries.
- The leading cause of injury death for children under
1 year old was suffocation due to choking or strangulation.
- Children in this age group are at high risk for
traumatic brain injury
- Drowning is the second leading cause of death.
Children under age 1 most often drown in bathtubs, buckets or toilets.
Toddlers most often die in residential swimming pools.
- In 2003, more than 1.8 million children under age 4
were nonfatally injured, and falls were the leading cause.
- Child maltreatment by blunt trauma to the head or by
violent shaking is a leading cause of head injury among infants and young
Children ( Ages 4 – 11)
- In 2002 nearly 2,300 children ages 4 – 11 died from
injuries according to a 2004 CDC Report
- Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death
for this age group
- For children age 4 – 7 years , belt positioning
booster seats reduce injury by 59% compared to seat belts alone
- Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-
related death for children 4 – 11
- In 2003 23 % of children age 5 -9 who were killed in
traffic crashes were pedestrians
- Homicide is the fourth leading cause of death in this
age group. Homicide was the manner of death of 250 of the 2,300 children
that died in 2002 in the 4 – 11 age group
- Nearly 3.2 million children ages 4 – 11 were
nonfatally injured in 2003, unintentional falls were the most common cause
Adolescents ( Ages 12 – 19)
- Nearly 4.7 million adolescents were nonfatally injured
in 2003; nearly 12,200 died from injuries in 2002 according to the 2004 CDC
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death
for adolescents ages 12 – 19
- He risk for motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16 –
19 year olds than in any other age group.
- A 2003 survey of high school students reported 18%
rarely wearing seat belts;
12 % reported drink and driving
and 30% reported riding with a drinking driver in the month preceding the
- Traumatic brain injuries among this age group account
for more than 240,000 emergency room visits, 36,000 hospitalizations and
more than 5,700 deaths each year (CDC 2004)
- Homicide is the second and suicide is the third
leading manner of death in this age group. Most homicides and about half
of suicides involve a firearm.
Pueblo, Colorado Childhood Deaths Investigated by the Coroner’s Office
January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2006
Ages 0 – 19
Pueblo, Colorado Annual Total Childhood Deaths 1/1/02 – 12/31/2006
Male Female Total
13 5 18
12 11 23
14 7 21
10 5 15
4 3 7
Pueblo, Colorado Childhood Death Monthly Occurrence
2002 2003 2004 2005
January 2 2 5
February 2 2 2 1
March 3 1 2 1
April 1 2 2
May 1 4 1
June 3 1 2
July 1 2 2
August 1 2 2
September 1 3 1 0 0
October 0 1 0 0
November 3 0 1 1
December 0 3 1 2 0
Total 18 23 21 15 7
Pueblo, Colorado Cause and Manner of Childhood Death
1/1/02 - 12/31/2006
There were four homicides of children (0-19) mechanisms included
suffocation, stab wound to the chest, gunshot wound to the chest and closed head
trauma. Three suicides by hanging, gunshot wound (2). Accidental deaths
included aspiration, positional asphyxia, drowning, motor vehicle accidents.
Natural deaths were caused by congenital abnormalities, Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome and seizure.
Homicides (3) closed head trauma, Gunshot wounds, Suicides (3)
mechanisms included gunshot wounds, hanging, and gunshot to chest. Several
deaths associated with motor vehicle accidents, Natural deaths occurred from
Cerebral Palsy, Seizure, Myocarditis, Congenital Heart Disease, Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome Prematurity, and Influenza.
2004 Homicides (3) due to gunshot
wounds. Suicides (3) Hanging and gunshot
wounds. Multiple deaths from motor
vehicle accidents and other accident
deaths caused by
chemical ingestion, positional asphyxia, intoxication,
Natural deaths were
caused by ischemic bowel, laryngospasm secondary to
Homicides and mechanism of gunshot injury. Suicides by gunshot injuries,
Asphyxia by ligature,
Hanging. Accidental deaths primarily motor vehicle
falls, drowning. Natural deaths due to congenital problems.
(1) Trauma, Suicide (1) Gunshot wound Accident (4)
Motor Vehicle Injuries (3) Medication
Reaction (1) Drug overdose (1)
and lung disease.
Department of Public Health and Environment
Violent Death Reporting System
- Violence is a major public health problem in the
- Homicide and suicide account for more than 46,000
deaths each year
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth
ages 10 – 24 years
- 722 people died by suicide
- 198 people died of
homicide or a legal intervention
- 10 children age 4 or
younger were a victim of homicide
- 7 people died of
unintentional firearm injuries
- Suicide is the seconding
leading cause of death and homicide is the third leading cause of death for
- In 2004 Colorado had the 7th
highest rate of suicide in the nation
Violent Death Reporting System
- Collect detailed information about violent deaths in
- Link data collected by crime labs, police, vital
statistics and the Coroner’s
- Provide information to help law enforcement, public
health officials, violence prevention groups, and policy maker begin to
understand the problems and guide local action plans for prevention
- Strengthen a joint public health and criminal justice
response to violence
Fatal Injuries Among Children by Race and
Ethnicity in the United States 1999 – 2002
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 5/18/2007
Vol 56 No SS-5
Rates US 1999 – 2002
Infants less than 1 year 33.7/100,000
Ages 10 – 19
Unintentional Injury Death
Less than 1 year Suffocation, Motor
Vehicle Accidents, Drowning
Blacks highest from suffocation
American Indian/Alaskan Native highest from MVA
Hispanics fewer suffocations more MVA
Ages 1 – 9 Motor Vehicle
Accidents, Drowning, Fire/Burns
American Indian/Alaskan Native highest MVA
American Indian/Alaskan Native highest Drowning
Blacks highest from fire/burns
Hispanics comparable to whites
Ages 10 – 19 Motor Vehicle
Accidents, Drowning, Poisoning
American Indian/Alaskan Native highest MVA & Poisoning
Blacks highest in drowning
Hispanics less than whites in MVA and Poisoning
Hispanics greater than whites in drowning
Violence Prevention Resource Center
The United States has the highest rate of youth
firearm-related violence in the industrialized world. During the 1980’s and
1990’s youth firearm-related violence increased dramatically seen in juvenile
gun arrests, gun homicides by juveniles doubled and youth suicides with handguns
increased dramatically. In recent years we have seen a decrease in youth
suicides involving firearms but much remains to be done.
The Youth Handgun Safety Act of 1994 prohibits possession
of handguns by anyone under the age of 18 and under the Gun Control Act of 1968
it is unlawful for federally licensed firearms dealers to sell handguns to
persons under 21. Access to firearms by youth does not seem to be deterred, in
on survey of 7th and 10th graders in Milwaukee and Boston,
42 % reported that they could get a gun if they wanted one, and 28% reported
having handled a gun without adult knowledge or supervision.
Survey of Juvenile
Offenders in Detention Centers
- 42% given their first gun by a peer, an older youth or
- 38% purposefully acquired their first gun by borrowing
(17%), buying (11%) stealing (10%)
- 84% of those who possessed guns said that they had
obtained them before they were 15 years old
Weapons in the
- 43% if households in the
US with children under 18 have at least one gun
- 21 % of gun owners with
children under 18 reported that they stored weapons loaded
- 9 % store weapons loaded
Weapons in Self Inflicted and Unintentional Injuries
- 57% of the suicides weapons were owned by the parents
- 19% of the unintentional injuries by adolescents ages
19 and younger weapons were owned by the parents
- (0 % of the guns used in suicide attempts and 72% of
guns involved in unintentional injuries were stored in the home of the
victim, relative or a friend
Source of Firearms Used by Students in School
Associated Violent Deaths
United States 1992 – 1999
and Morbidity Weekly Report March 7, 2003
During July 1, 1992 – June 30, 1999 a total of 323
school-associated violent death events occurred in the United States, these
resulted in 358 deaths. This was defined as a firearm-related homicide or
suicide in which the homicide perpetrator or the suicide victim was an
elementary or secondary school student and the fatal injury occurred during this
time frame either 1) on the campus of a functioning public or private elementary
or secondary school in the United States, 2) while the victim was on the way to
or from regular sessions at such a school or 3) while the victim was attending
or traveling to or from an official school-sponsored event.
The findings indicate that among incidents for which the
data are available, the majority of the firearms used in these events were
obtained from the perpetrator’s homes or from friends or relatives. The safe
storage of firearms is critically important and should be continued.
- 218 student perpetrators
- 56.4% used at least one firearm
- 26.8% committed suicide
- 69.1 % perpetrated a homicide
- 4.1% perpetrated a homicide-suicide
- 93.5%were male
- five perpetrators were carrying two firearms
- Of the 128 firearms used 37.5% came from the
perpetrators home and 23.4% came from a friend or a relative of the
Review of Child
Fatality Review Team
The devastating event of a child’s death effects the
family, investigators, community and peers of the child. The goal of
prevention of child death due to preventable causes is a admirable goal.
Children die from natural causes ( diseases) , accidents,
homicides and suicides. The objective of the Child Fatality Review Committee
is to comprehensively review the circumstances and events surrounding the death,
the investigation of the death and systems involved with the child.
The team is composed of the Coroner (chairperson), and
representatives from multiple agencies including: DA, Pueblo Police Dept, Pueblo
County Sheriff, Department of Social Services, Pueblo Health Department, School
District, Hospitals, Emergency Rooms, Nursing staff, Community member and
pathologists, Pueblo Child Advocacy Center.
Deaths reviewed are all child deaths that come under the
jurisdiction of the Coroner. Deaths of children ages 0 -19 yrs are reviewed.
The team meets on a monthly basis at the Pueblo Child Advocacy Center.
The proactive objective is identification of preventable
causes of death of children and to educate families and the public about
The Pueblo Child Fatality Team. founded by James Kramer
MPAS, PA-C, Coroner was the first local review team in Colorado. It is
patterned after the State Child Fatality Review Team.
Coroner Investigative News
Real or Perceived ?
James L. Kramer MPAS, PA-C
Pueblo County Coroner
Real or Perceived ?
The popularity of the “CSI” television series and the
spin-offs from the original series has increased television viewership of these
forensic shows. They are collectively consistent in the top ten Nielsen ratings
and are ahead of many other popular television series.
The forensic information, techniques and “CSI” teams
presented on these television series have “educated” society in many law
enforcement crime fighting approaches and have had an influence on what we
perceive as common place activities.
A concern that has developed is the “CSI Effect” which is
defined as the influence that may cause jurors to judge facts through the vision
of crime shows and reach conclusions that are not consistent with evidence and
testimony. It is also associated with perception and expectations.
The question remains: is the CSI Effect real or perceived?
Crime: an act committed or omitted in violation of
Scene: the place in which any even occurs
Investigation: a careful examination or inquiry
Entertain: to hold the interest of and give
pleasure to; divert, amuse
Fiction: anything made up or imagined; something
accepted as fact for convenience, although not necessarily true
Effect: anything brought about by cause or agent;
Real: existing or happening as or in fact; actual,
true; authentic; genuine; not pretended
Perceive: to grasp or take in mentally; to become
aware of through the senses
Forensic Professions/CSI Teams
The CSI shows all have teams of 4-5 persons that do all of
the work on every case, they respond to the scene, collect the evidence, return
to the lab and do all of the technical analysis, complete the trace evidence
testing, always obtain computer analysis and get positive “hits” on the
computer, get toxicology results immediately and complete the autopsy. It has
even been shown that they have special skills in scuba diving. They frequently
do family and witness interviews and the perpetrators confess when confronted
with the forensic evidence. All of this in a one hour show with commercials.
The reality of forensic specialties is years of study,
individual disciplines, slow meticulous work that can take hours, days or weeks
for results and the results do not always provide the final answer. The
forensic pathologist specializes in disease, trauma and human anatomy. The
toxicologist focuses on drugs, poisons, and side effects and complications of
those substances. Anthropology emphasizes the study of the skeletal remains for
the purpose of identifying gender, age, ethnicity, trauma and disease. A
Odontologist ( forensic dentist) specializes in dentistry, identification based
on dental aspects and bite mark analysis.
Other forensic specialties include fingerprint analysts,
firearms and ballistics, blood spatter analysis, computer crimes, DNA/Biology,
jurisprudence, medicolegal investigation, psychiatry and many other specialized
The multiple disciplines that are forensic specialtists
clearly indicate that it takes more than 4-5 person team to have the skills
necessary for a comprehensive investigation.
According to the Yale Law Journal March 2006 “ the CSI
effect is a term that legal authorities and the mass media have coined to
describe a supposed influence that watching the television show CSI has on juror
behavior. Some have claimed that jurors who see the high quality forensic
evidence presented on CSI raise their standards in real trials, in which actual
evidence is typically more flawed and uncertain. As a result, these
CSI-affected jurors are alleged to acquit defendants more frequently.”
“While the CSI effect has been widely noted in the popular
press, there is little objective evidence demonstrating that the effect
exists. As is often the case with legal issues, the pace of public discussion
has outstripped the ability of scholars to research the issue.”
Law enforcement and forensic show abound on the network
television channels. Introduction to law enforcement and court processes began
decades ago. Remember Perry Mason, Peter Gun, and Dragnet. Television brought
us current with Law and Order, Hill Street Blues and other popular police
series. The wonder of court room drama and theatrics was demonstrated by Perry
Mason. We were introduced into the world of forensic medicine with Quincy.
The current popular viewing of CSI, CSI NY, CSI Miami, Law
and Order, Major Crimes, Numbers, and Without a Trace all lend themselves to the
forensic fascination as well as the growing popularity of forensic programs at
universities and colleges.
Max Houck, West Virginia University: “I joke that CSI is
the perfect TV show, they dress like doctors, they carry badges and they’re
cops, and they act like cowboys”
Anthony Amersterdam and Jerome Bruner wrote in their book
Minding the Law “ that television might have an effect on
courtrooms is not implausible. Judges and lawyers must inevitably rely upon
culturally shaped processes of categorizing, storytelling, and persuasion in
going about their business”.
Preconceptions are a problem if jurors are
unable to set them aside. If jurors can clear their minds, then the biasing
influences of watching CSI could be counteracted by a judge urging them to set
aside any information they had learned from watching crime show television
according to Neil Vidmar, Law and Human Behavior 73, 75-82 (2002)
According to Commonwealth Attorney Jonathan Lynn: “ There
is no question people bring into the courtroom their personal life experiences.
To the extent that they watch this show (CSI) their expectations are somewhat
Guilty and Not Guilty verdicts are not an equivalent of
resolving uncertainty. A guilty verdict identifies someone responsible for a
crime and provides a sense of psychological completeness and closure. A
not-guilty verdict prevents an injustice to a potentially innocent person but
does nothing to resolve the psychological desire to see justice done either for
the victim or the population at large according to the Yale Law Journal.
The Yale Law Journal goes on to state that there is a
fundamental human motivation to see justice done which is the “belief in a just
world”. This may motivate jurors to try to resolve cases. Achieving conviction
is psychologically satisfying because an acquittal leaves the crime unsolved.
There is a cognitive motivation to acquit the innocent, the emotional need to
achieve justice for the victim is incomplete until someone is identified and
punished for the crime.
Neil Vidmar writes in Retribution and Revenge (2001) that
the desire for retribution following wrongdoing is the oldest form of justice
and is central to society. The two related concepts of retribution and revenge
are arguably the oldest, most basic, and most pervasive justice reactions
associated with human social life.
Understanding the Limits of Limiting Instructions by Joel
Lieberman in Psychol.Pub.Policy 677, 684-85 (2000) indicates that studies by
psychologist have repeatedly shown that admonitions to disregard inadmissible
evidence are ineffective. Damaging publicity was found to increase the
perceived strength of the prosecution case and the likelihood of a guilty
The concern of bias is addressed in the article
Authoritarianism, Pretrial Publicity and Awareness of Bias in Simulated Jurors
by Sue Stanley. “ Research shows that verdicts of jurors who claim to be
unbiased during voir dire are still influenced by prior bias. In fact, asking
jurors about a particular view prior to trial is sometimes found to increase the
influence of related pretrial publicity.
Placement of stories in news reports have the potential of
influence by inference of importance based on placement of a story. Headlines
are potentially the most read portion of a news item. One must ask if it is
possible that photo’s, captions and camera angles have the potential to create a
Juror Expectations and Influence
The question remains if popular television forensic
programs lead jurors to have unreasonable expectations for the quality and
quantity of physical evidence.
According to Simon Cole, Dept. of Criminology, University
of California, Irvine: “That television might have an effect on courtrooms is
not implausible….but to argue that CSI and similar shows are actually raising
the number of acquittals is a staggering claim, and the remarkable thing is
that, speaking forensically, there is not a shred of evidence to back it up.”
Pondering the CSI Effect
The question posed by the District Attorney’s Office in
Maricopa County (Phoenix) ask if the science used in fictional investigations
have the potential to sway juries against the prosecution because the burden of
proof now includes the requirement of a specific type of scientific examination
or an exotic laboratory analysis? “Some prosecutors believe that juries in the
past were intimidated or bored by scientific evidence but now the opposite may
be true. “ In the criminal justice system, defense attorneys have the duty to
advocate for the defendant. “ Will the influence of CSI shows allow defense
attorneys to call the criminal justice process itself into question, and holding
police and prosecutors to a different, and higher, television-driven standard?”
Television exposure to forensics and CSI has substantially
grown as the number of CSI type programs have proliferated on the networks. An
estimated 30 million television viewers religiously tune into forensics-laden
crime dramas like CSI. “TV no longer simply reflects the world in which we
live; it shapes it as well.”
Professor Taunya Lovell Banks, University of Maryland
School of Law
The Nielsen Media Research Group top ten primetime
broadcast television programs reveal CSI type programs to be #1, 4, 6,7,9,10
ahead of Monday Night Football, Desperate Housewives, and Grey’s Anatomy.
Visual appeal and entertainment are a significant aspect to
the television shows. It is readily evident that the CSI team is always
wearing the latest fashions, suits, heels, leather pants, low scooped tops,
abdomen bearing mid riffs and fashion sun glasses.
Real life CSI teams instead wear BDU’s, protective outer
wear such as tyvek suits, heavy boots and long rubber gloves.
Vans, police type cars and SUV’s are the most common mode
of transportation and not the classic TV Hummer vehicles.
The laboratory and morgue with the TV CSI shows
consistently is in a modern building with all of the latest forensic tools,
machines, laser lights, imaging techniques and blue lighting. Real life
morgues are more often cramped, low budget, understaffed and have the
traditional white fluorescent bulb lighting.
The CSI television shows are entertainment. Thomas
Mauriello, forensic scientist suggest that much of the forensic science depicted
on CSI (40%) does not even exist and even when the techniques are real, the
neatly perfect depictions of collecting, processing and analyzing evidence are
Dr. David Walsh, president of the National Institute on
Media and the Family emphasizes that electronic media (TV, video games, movies
and computers) can have profound effects on young children by the power of the
media setting examples for children to follow. “By the time a child is 18, he
or she will have seen roughly 200,000 acts of violence on television.” As
electronic media has become more prevalent, it has developed the power to set
Exposure to visual media continues to influence society but
it also provides a potential education for a select group. Education of
criminals is a potential spin off of the CSI forensic programs.
Detective Mick Kennedy, University of Western Sydney states that “ television
and movies have always provided criminals with new ideas about how to escape the
law. As a society we should not under-estimate the intellectual capacity of
the criminal community. These shows play a part in planting ideas in the minds
The absolute of television does not always exist. The
slam-dunk evidence and quick convictions have led juries to expect the same
thing. Real forensics is seldom as fast or as certain as TV .
The question remains does the CSI Effect exist and if so
does it create an element of leniency?
We then must ask if there is a CSI Effect does it create
defendant sympathy, does it change the threshold for convictions, is there a
declining trust and confidence in legal authorities, how much influence does the
media have on society and culture, does bias exist and critical thinking must
distinguish between entertainment and reality.
Sherlock Holmes: “ There is nothing
more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
James L. Kramer
215 W. 10th
Pueblo, CO 81003
Coroner Investigative News
Life and Death
A Journey of Society and Culture
Life and Death
“A Journey of Society and Culture”
Death provides a cascade of emotions that human beings
experience. We travel a journey that incorporates fear and hope. The concept
of death has influenced or has been influenced by language, arts, religion and
Death and the way a person arrives at death has become an
attraction for political debate, news, television, movies and society as a
The issues leading to death and the response to death
generates many occupations, expenses, budget line items and social stigma. We
have had and continue to have marked political and religious debate over several
ethical issues related to death: suicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia.
Culture has taken on a goal of death prevention. We
express continued concern about the amount of violence and death that children
are exposed to but the media continues to abound with varied images of death and
murder. Discussions of death remain a taboo or at least limited conversations.
We have become death accepting, death denying and death
defying. Have we become a culture of death?
The greatest effect may be seen in small societies where
famine, disease or mass disaster could potentially lead to the death of the
Death impacts our roles within a family and community. It
gives a historical linage to where we stand within the family and effects the
roles that we fill ie. Matriarch, patriarch, child, sibling. We then see as
time and death take a toll that our role and position within the family
The twentieth century has seen a significant change in
death statistics and causes of death. The average life expectancy has
continued to climb, we no longer have the devastating death rates of infants
and the elderly are living longer. The change in life span also has a
significant effect on the economic and social structure of society as well as
creating more end of life issues.
These are issues that have come about because of the
advancement of public health, medical technology, better working conditions,
better housing, and technological changes in society. The availability of
quality food and water as well as overall quality of life.
Death has changed from sudden death to a slow motion death
Components of a death system include: people, places, times
and objects and symbols.
Death is inevitable, everyone will at one time or another
be involved with death: self or others.
The places that death occurs or a person is tended to at
the time of death includes: hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, private
residence, battle fields , morgues, funeral homes, and cemeteries or
Society, cultural groups and families remember the deceased
at many specialized times that include cultural holidays, anniversary’s,
holidays and religious holidays.
The time of our death results in the use of many types of
objects and symbols. Families may choose a special casket either wood or metal
with possibly some type of symbolic emblem that reflects a special interest or
involvement of the deceased. It may have a religious symbol such as a cross.
The burial may include a flag. All of these emblems and symbols are meant to
represent the deceased, beliefs, involvements and things that were meaningful to
them when they were alive.
Religion has been the social structure driving the rituals
and social knowledge associated with death. The message that is provided
through religion is that life doesn’t conclude with death, but rather a person
is resurrected, reincarnated or absorbed and moves on to an after-life.
Each religious denomination has specific criteria that
affect the belief system and values of the individual.
Religion has helped shape attitudes toward fears of death,
funeral practices and death related moral issues.
Pope John Paul II questioned society assuming a “culture of
death” attitude and stated “shadows of death that are especially menacing at
life’s earliest beginning and its natural end make up this “culture of death”.
Time Magazine July 12, 1976 : “ The conflicts
are, of course, more complicated than religious fanaticism; they have a great
deal to do with economic discrimination, battles for political power, questions
of deeply laminated social difference. Nor do the wars involve religious
doctrine – except in oblique, complex ways. “
Religious beliefs drive many of the ethical debates, most
which center around the sanctity of life and include euthanasia, assisted
suicide, abortion and capital punishment.
The discussion about the sanctity of life and
the respect for life is driven by determination and termination. The concern
is also about the quality of life . Who has the legal and moral right to make
those decisions. A classical example of this debate is Terri Schiavo.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide have been
forefront in the news. The concern about self determination, involvement of
others in our death and the legalities of action. Dr. Jack Kevorkian has been
the leading controversial figure associated with these issues.
The debate continues about the quality of life, sanctity of
life and the legal implications. The end of life decisions challenge us. The
impact of family, finances and the psychological long term effects are
associated concerns. Death with dignity is a concern.
Abortion continues to be a hot button topic
that generates immediate responses that are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The debate continues as to when does life begin, who has the right to take a
life, what are the rights of the unborn and what are the rights of the mother.
The common ground of death of the infant continues to be debated. Possibly the
association of human DNA will clarify the status of the unborn. Medical
technology has advanced the imaging of the unborn child and the number of
abortions in America has decreased.
Capital punishment ( death penalty) is a
death issue that generates visceral response and depends upon where and if it
affects an individual or family. The debate continues about punishment,
recidivism, and wrongful death. The advance of DNA and ability to test in
crimes that it wasn’t previously tested for has indeed found some that are
wrongfully imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit. The Innocence Project
has promoted the DNA testing and taken a stand against the death penalty.
Consistent ethics seem to be in conflict with
all of the debate of the moral issues associated with death. Society seems to
have variable ethical beliefs depending on the individual topic whether it is
abortion, assisted suicide, capital punishment. We have as a consistent ethic
The ethical issues have a significant social impact and the
religious view points related to these issues bring into question our belief
system as well as social justice.
There are many political tentacles to death. The easily
visible is the association between death , wars, massacres and oppression.
One of the obvious ramifications of military occupation is
the death of the soldiers on both sides of the conflict.
Politics reaches further into the association with death
when governments are evaluated for involvement with death statistics, life
expectancy, public health and monitoring systems for disasters.
Legislative involvement with environmental controls,
advertising and requirements associated with cigarette smoking and alcohol.
The government has become a monitoring vehicle for things
that kill us and then it forms another agency to eliminate those same hazards.
Legislative control over observances such as historical
holidays, monuments and national cemeteries plunges the government further into
the issues of death or at least the creation of mechanisms that observe death.
Source: American War Library
1775-1783 Revolutionary War
1861-1865 Civil War – North
1861 – 1865 Civil War – South
1917-1918 World War I
1941 Pearl Harbor
1941-1945 World War II
Jima 6,891 (USMC) 18,070 (USA)
1990-1991 Persian Gulf
2003 - ???
the 20th Century
Source: The History Place
Genocide is a combination of words “genos” (race) (Greek)
and the Latin word “cide” (killing).
The United Nations defined genocide in 1948
to mean any act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a
national, ethnic, racial, or religious group including:
- killing members of the group
- causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of
- deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of
life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
- imposing measures intended to prevent births within
- forcibly transferring children of the group to another
Occurrences of Genocide
Location Number of Deaths
1915-1918 Armenians in
1932-1933 Stalin’s Forced
1937-1938 Rape of
1938-1945 Nazi Holocaust
1975-1979 Pol Pot in
2003-2007 (ongoing) Sudan:Dufar
www.union-workers-compensation.com/facts an average work day at least 153
workers lose their lives as a result of workplace injuries and illnesses.
Unionized workers sustain the majority of work-related injuries because they
often work in the most hazardous of the work environments. The National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health showed 5,524 occupational
fatalities in 2002
Labor Unions with the majority of members that died as a
result of work related injuries include: Union Iron Workers, Masons, Commercial
Workers, Industrial Workers of the World, Plumbers and Fitters Union, United
Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Welders and Bridge Workers.
dealing with death
Law Enforcement, Physicians, Insurance, Banking, Financial
Planners, Hospice, Cemeteries, Medical Examiners, Funeral Directors, Morticians,
Nurses, Counselors, Lawyers, Pathologists, Crematory workers, Memorial Stone
Company, Clergy, Social Workers, Human Resources, Retirement Officers, EMS,
Emergency Response Teams, Fire Fighters, Florists, Journalists and multiple
health care professions.
These professions cross into the world of the dead on a
regular basis dealing with the deceased as well as the families of the deceased.
“Fatal Attraction” to Death
A significant amount of the time news stories on
television, radio and newspaper have a lead story that deals with the death of
an individual or group.
The most visible of some of these in recent years include
the death of Pope John Paul II, President Regan, Terri Schiavo, Anna Nicole,
President Ford and the ravages of war and genocide. Is death a public or
Reflection on some of the leading television stories
recently and in the past include stories of crime, passion, death, tragedy and
menacing. A few of the titles include: CSI, Law and Order, Numbers, Soprano’s,
Gunsmoke, MASH, Perry Mason, Quincy, and Autopsy.
The Big Screen draws people and millions of dollars into
the theatre with movies and stories that tell a story that includes death such
as: God Father, 300, Passion of the Christ, and Flags of Our Fathers.
Are we a culture of death and Fatal Attraction?
Tombstones, and Obituaries
The role of a cemetery in society is more than a resting
place for the deceased. It creates a microcosm of society reflecting community
beliefs and values. It indicates many times what kind of society exists and in
fact who the members of that society are.
Many cemeteries, particularly historic cemeteries, provide
a history lesson of the region and of America.
Cemeteries frequently will have areas or section that
because of the community have developed sections based on religious affiliation
or ethnic association.
Tombstones vary in size and may be associated with
families, success, or beliefs. Some have inscriptions with religious
statements and military service.
A current practice in cemeteries is to have all of the
tombstones of uniform size and shape. Does this practice create equality
The obituary announcement is a life summary and family
statement. The size and contents of the obituary may depend on family
preference and cost.
A unique development in recent years is the Roadside
Memorial. This marks the location of a death that occurred. Some debate has
developed if the roadside memorial is a hazard. Although these markers have
become more prevalent in recent years they are really a new take on the old
practice of burying people at the death site as people moved across the land to
A discussion would not be complete if there wasn’t at least
mention of Egyptian Pyramids and the significance of the building of monuments
and tombs to provide a monument and place of preparation for the after life for
the Egyptian elite. Were the pyramids an early attempt at immortality?
Historically cemeteries have been the sights of many varied
activities as well as the source of some health concerns. The English
Parliament thought that funeral and burial customs may have played a role in
spreading the Black Plague. It instituted a policy against large gatherings and
mandated graves to be no less than six feet deep.
Cemeteries have ranged from family plots, military
cemeteries, large garden cemeteries, inner city cemeteries to rural cemeteries.
Parks have become more cemetery like with large monuments and cemeteries more
park like with paths and open space.
Funeral service is a history of mankind and the funeral
customs are as old as civilization.
Care of the deceased is a society/cultural activity and
studies of civilization have identified three commonalities relating to death
and the handling of the deceased:
Some type of funeral rites, rituals, and ceremonies
A sacred place for the dead
Memorialization of the dead
Modern funeral customs are based on religion, honoring the
dead and showing sympathy and consideration for the family.
Even in today’s society, as in historical civilizations
death is approached from a standpoint of fear.
- Feasting and gatherings associated with the funeral
began as an essential part of the primitive funeral where food offerings
- Wakes come from ancient customs of keeping watch over
- Ringing bells comes from the medieval belief that the
spirits would be kept away by the ringing of a consecrated bell
- Floral offerings were originally intended to gain
favor with the spirits
- Funeral music had its origins in the ancient changes
designed to placate the spirits
Can death be considered good or bad ? It has been
indicated that a “Good Death” involves the needs of the dying and a “Bad Death”
is one that is unanticipated or premature.
Bereavement is a legitimate grief that reflects a status of
diminished expectations toward one’s role. Grief is the emotions triggered by
the death of another, associated with sadness and possibly depression.
Grief is one of the most profound of all human emotions.
General Social Survey’s have shown than 14 percent of Americans 18 and older (
about 36 million) have experienced the death of either a parent, spouse,
sibling or child each year. These losses can disrupt life patters for up to
The period of grief has shortened through the years. In
1927 Emily post suggested that a widow’s formal grieving period was three
years. 1950 the mourning period was six months and in 1972 Amy Vanderbilt
advised the bereaved to “pursue or try to pursue, a usual social course within a
week or so after a funeral.”
Our grief and response to the death of a loved one is many
times based on the relationship we held with the deceased, whether it was a
parent, spouse, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild.
- The influence of death reaches all aspects of society.
- Death systems provide a veil of order and meaning to
- Death influences religion, funerary rituals,
- Religion has been the social structure driving the
rituals and knowledge of death.
- Many of the current ethical debates of society center
around death: Sanctity of Life, Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, Abortion and
- The politics of death draws a connection between wars,
life expectancy, budgets and public health.
- Cultural practices surrounding death reflect life as
seen via, cemeteries, tombstones, obituaries and roadside memorials.
- The impact of death deals with personal relationships
with the deceased
- Grief and bereavement are the result of the emotions
triggered by the death of another.
- American War Library
- History of Funeral Customs
- Michael Kearl Sociology of Death
- Pope John Paul II
- National Public Radio: Exploring Death in America
- Time Magazine July 12, 1976
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
- United Nations
Do you really know how to
Do you really know how to
forward e-mails? 50% of us
do; 50% DO NOT. Do you
wonder why you get viruses
or junk mail? Do you hate
it? Every time you forward
an e-mail there is
information left over from
the people who got the
message before you, namely
their e-mail addresses &
names. As the messages get
forwarded along, the list of
addresses builds, and
builds, and builds, and all
it takes is for some poor
sap to get a virus, and his
or her computer can send
that virus to every e-mail
address that has come across
his computer. Or, someone
can take all of those
addresses and sell them or
send junk mail to them in
the hopes that you will go
to the site and he will make
five cents for each hit.
That's right, all of that
inconvenience over a
nickel! How do you stop
it? Well, there are several
(1) When you forward an
e-mail, DELETE all of the
other addresses that appear
in the body of the message
(at the top). That's right,
DELETE them. Highlight them
and delete them, backspace
them, cut them, whatever it
is you know how to do. It
only takes a second. You
MUST click the "Forward"
button first and then you
will have full editing
capabilities against the
body and headers of the
message. If you don't click
on "Forward" first, you
won't be able to edit the
message at all.
(2) Whenever you send an
e-mail to more than one
person, do NOT use the "To:"
or "Cc:" fields for adding
e-mail addresses. Always use
the "Bcc:" (blind carbon
copy) field for listing the
e-mail addresses. This way
the people you send to will
only see their own e-mail
address. If you don't see
your "Bcc:" option, click on
where it says "To:" and your
address list will appear.
Highlight the address and
choose "Bcc:" and that's it,
it's that easy. When you
send to "Bcc:", your message
will automatically say
"Undisclosed Recipients" in
the "To:" field of the
people who receive it. If
that phrase does not appear,
type your own email address
in the "To:" field, but put
everyone else's in the
(3) Remove any "Fw:" in the
subject line. You can
re-name the subject if you
wish or even fix spelling.
(4) ALWAYS hit your Forward
button from the actual
e-mail you are reading. Ever
get those e-mails that you
have to open 10 times to
read the one page with the
information on it? By
Forwarding from the actual
page you wish someone to
view, you prevent them from
having to open many e-mails
just to see what you sent.
(AMEN!) If you can't forward
from that page, "Copy" the
info and then open a new
email blank page and
(5) Have you ever gotten an
email that is a petition? It
states a position and asks
you to add your name and
address and to forward it to
10 or 15 people or your
entire address book. The
email can be forwarded on
and on and can collect
thousands of names and email
addresses. A FACT: The
completed petition is
actually worth a couple of
bucks to a professional
spammer because of the
wealth of valid names and
email addresses contained
therein. If you want to
support the petition, send
it as your own personal
letter to the intended
recipient. Your position may
carry more weight as a
personal letter than a
laundry list of names and
email address on a
petition. (Actually, if you
think about it, who is
supposed to send the
petition in to whatever
cause it supports? And
don't believe the ones that
say that the email is being
traced, it just ain't so!)
One of the main ones I hate
is the ones that say that
something like, -Send this
email to 10 people and
you'll see something great
run across your screen. Or
sometimes they just tease
you by saying something
really cute will happen. IT
AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!!!!
(Trust me, I'm still seeing
some of the same ones that I
waited on 10 years ago!) I
don't let the bad luck ones
scare me either, they get
trashed. (Could be why I
haven't won the lottery.)
Before you forward an Amber
Alert, or a Virus Alert, or
some of the other ones
floating around nowadays,
check them out before you
forward them. Most of them
are junk mail that have been
circling the net for YEARS!
Just about everything you
receive in an email that is
in question can be checked
out at Snopes or Break The
Chain. Just go to
It is really easy to find
out if it is real or not.
If it is not, please don't
pass it on.
So please, in the future,
let's stop the junk mail and