Up Close and Personal With Today’s Forensics

You won’t find me watching CSI because it’s not *real* enough, but books I’ve read at least twice include Stiff, Corpse, Body Brokers, Internal Bleeding, What the Corpse Revealed and Unnatural Death. That’s why Newsweek’s The Truth About Forensics article caught my macabre eye; the writer is a bit squeamish, but it’s fascinating and Gothy-good nonetheless. Snip:

(…) There were undercover cops milling about, apparently, and talk of open legal cases. And to make it worse, they were disturbingly unmoved by my enthusiasm. Turns out they’re annoyed by all this TV-inspired love.
It didn’t take me long to figure out why. The criminal justice system and the forensic science community that serves it just are not sexy. It’s slow and verbose and in a word, gross. I wandered through sessions and seminars and workshops and lectures and nearly vomited every time. On day 1, I learned that arterial spray is a complete misnomer unless you call what comes out of a fire hydrant spray. Day 2 brought hard proof in black and white of what a bullet actually does to the human head. I guess the reason we only see the entry wound on TV is because a big bullet takes most of the head with it on its way out. On my third day, I got a quick tutorial on the host of bugs that move into our bodies after we leave them and well, I just couldn’t take it. I had to walk out. I always thought I had an iron-clad stomach because I could watch forensic television, but no, I can watch it because it’s fake. I know it’s fake, it looks fake and the reality of violent death is so much worse. They must style those maggots on CSI because those buggers are much more numerous and aggressive in real life.


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