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'The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained.'
(David Bohm)

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Monday, 31 January 2011

Forensic Psychology.
Crime, Accident or Suicide?

"Now and then there is a person born,
who is so unlucky that he runs into accidents
which started out to happen to somebody else"
(Don Marquis, life of mehitabel).

Crime scene investigation
Crime scene investigation
Brainstorming is about finding the answers to moot questions, as well as getting to the truth behind the appearance or finding logical explanations to situations that apparently make no sense. In short, thinking differently.

The other day I heard about a case of a 19-year-old guy who got run over and killed by a lorry on his way home from a party in the small hours of the night. The driver admitted to having dragged the body for about 400 metres before he finally managed to brake to a screeching halt. At the trial the lorry driver claimed the boy came out of the blue, so that there was no time for him to react. The breath test ruled out drunken driving, but he did exceed the speed limit and the foglamps weren’t on.

What’s more, you would expect a decent person to prioritise saving a life over possible consequences for himself, but it turns out that instead of immediately calling an ambulance the unfeeling wretch first phoned his boss seeking counsel as to what he should tell the police without compromising himself or the company, so when about 20 min later an ambulance finally arrived the boy was already dead. 

Whether he could have survived had the ambulance arrived sooner, is anybody’s guess, but the court ruled there was no proof the first call the driver made was to his boss. Inexplicably, the police didn’t bother to check the driver’s phone records (probably the boss pulled some strings). The defence argued that after being knocked over by a truck his chances of survival were slim, so 20 minutes made no difference, however I’d think the driver’s unethical behaviour should have been punished regardless of the consequences. The excess of speed wasn’t considered significant enough to have influenced the tragic outcome.

As a result all the charges against the driver were dropped, including failure to give assistance.

But what really set us off was his mother’s recountal of that tragic night — on being informed about her son’s death by phone, she cried out, ‘My Son Can’t Be Dead, His Brother Needs His Bone Marrow!’

Not something along the lines of ‘I can’t believe he’s dead’ or ‘Oh my God, my SON IS DEAD!’, but the disappointment that his body couldn’t be used to save his brother’s life. Weird as it sounds, the corpse appeared to be wrapped in an atmosphere of insensitivity.

It turns out, the brother of the deceased suffered from leukaemia and the victim was the only compatible bone marrow donor for him.

 Actually, she was indignant about the driver taking his time to call an ambulance mainly because, as a result, it didn’t arrive in time to collect the bone marrow which thus was wasted. As if the whole thing were about a roadkill that could’ve been barbecued!
Road traffic accident
Road traffic accident
It gives me the jitters when I just imagine the paramedics showing up on the scene of the accident, finding the injured party dead and starting to cut the squashed body up to salvage the bodily organs. Modern medicine views a human being as a set of spare parts for fixing other bodies. Makes you feel at the butcher’s or doctor Frankenstein’s mercy.

‘Had the ambulance arrived sooner the bone marrow wouldn’t have been wasted!’, ranted the mother callously, as if the local butcher forgot to keep the offal for her dog.

She clearly cared much more about her ailing son than the victim. Not that we want to pass judgement on or disapprove of her attitude, after all the victim might have been a trial for his parents, a good-for-nothing drunkard or junkie, so by comparison his brother would have had to be the apple of his mother’s eye and with a good reason.

"You sin in thinking bad about people; but, often, you guess right" (A pensar male si fa peccato, ma spesso ci si azzecca). — Giulio Andreotti

However, all this left us wondering if there was more to the accident than came to light at the trial since no forensic psychologist was called to testify.

Contrary to usual belief or mainstream hypocrisy, in most cases parents don’t love all their children the same way for a variety of reasons — there’s always mummy’s or daddy’s chosen simply because everyone has their personality and we like the people we have more in common or feel at ease with, because sometimes people just don’t like their children and have enough impartiality to admit it, or because their characters clash. Actually, many people see children as a kind of property something to take pride in, something to show off, something that gives meaning to their otherwise empty lives, a vehicle for their own thwarted ambitions, a chance of vicarious happiness, someone to project their own ideas, dreams and desires onto, or simply pets. But few people regard them as free individuals. No wonder when children don’t live up to their parents expectations the two parties don’t get on well.

'My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.'

It seems reasonable to suppose that the decedent couldn’t but be aware of his mummy’s tilt towards her sickly child and therefore had to be jealous of his sib. Continuing with this train of thought, the dead guy wasn’t probably too fond of his brother or might even have grown to hate him after years of pent up resentment and envy. By the same token I suppose he wasn’t particularly happy about the idea of saving his brother’s life (after all everyone has a right to decide what they want to do with their bodily organs, especially the right to keep them). Granted, he could have refused to share part of his flesh with his brother, but some people would sooner die than stand fast and say no.

Sure enough, whatever really happened that tragic night, the casualty took it to his grave. Still, in my mind’s eye, I can picture the poor devil walking along the road, almost certainly tiddly and seized with that feeling of emptiness that often invades the heart right after some bright moment have made a strong contrast with an otherwise gloomy life.

Suddenly, a lorry popped into view, and here’s our take (deep psychological insight or a sneaking suspicion) on what happened next.
The guy felt a tug of resentment, and a twisted idea of revenge flashed through his mind.

He sensed he would prefer it if his male sibling were dead to spite his mother, and the lorry had just offered a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and get his own back on both his mum and brother.
So by jumping under the vehicle and thus ending his life in an act of slavish rebellion, he also took away his mother’s blue-eyed boy!

‘Screw you all!’ was probably his last thought.  

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  1. My goodness this was certainly a haunting of a read! Is this a true story?
    I love your idea for this blog, brainstorming is a wonderful thing! This story was just too sad, though.

  2. Thanks a lot, Day-Dreamin' Optimist.
    It is a true story, I hardly ever make things up, and to cap it all off it turns out the carrier sued the mother of the victim for damages (caused to the lorry by her son's body)!
    The lawsuit was later dropped after the mother raised hell.
    It is indeed very sad.


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