William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Thursday, 17, September, 2009

Graduate Class 9 & 10 Modification

Filed under: Forensics,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 18:37

Tattoos, piercings, brandings, scarification, foot binding, tight lacing.  Neck stretching.  Other, more extreme modifications.  Some of shom can lead to accidental deaths, by choking, falling, or mechanical asphyxia.  Here, it is also important to recognize prison iconography, tattoos that are bad signs* and remember what is still the most common tattoo in the world **.

We are also reminded that tattoos are permanent, and that it is unwise to put anyone’s name on your body who isn’t your child.  It is also unwise to put ink on places that are always visible.  Zebraman_great_omiOne student asked if there were any laws to protect people with tattoos against discrimination in employment.  Other than common sense and maturity, no.

I pointed out that some tattoos, those that were done in prison, those that bespoke criminal affiliation, and those that bespoke an anti-social attitude were indicators of immaturity and poor judgement, and that perhaps people with those character traits were not good to hang out with or give your money to invest.  That arguement didn’t hold a lot of weight with a group of early twenty-year-olds it seemed.

*FTW (Fuck the World) OUTLAW, Hate and Love on the knuckles, swastikas, Born to Lose, for examples

** MOM.

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11 Comments »

  1. MOM? Not crossed rifles? I’m shocked.

    Comment by Shay — Thursday, 17, September, 2009 @ 23:36 | Reply

  2. It doesn’t hold much water with me either (and I’m in my LATE 20s, so HA). Namely because, as you say, tattoos are perminant. They can only indicate that a person has shown immaturity and poor judgement in the past (and who hasn’t?). You could rightly argue that most people who get those particular kind of tattoo are unlikely to move beyond those attitudes, but when that is the case, I suspect there are much better indicators than the ink.

    Comment by Meagan — Friday, 18, September, 2009 @ 10:11 | Reply

    • There’s poor judgement and there’s poor judgement. Yes, everyone was young, stupid, and impulsive. If one was SO young, stupid, and impulsive that one would make permanent, disfiguring changes for all the world to see, I’m not going to say, “Well, I was young once, too. But here, here’s prescription power/the power to be the face representing my company/now go out and convince people to give my company their business.” We’ve come a long way since the time that anything but a crew cut and clean shaven was the kiss of death in business, which is a good thing. Adding self-inflicted barriers to getting along in the world is a big, red flag.

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Friday, 18, September, 2009 @ 10:19

  3. One thing you may have forgotten to include here (but hopefully not in class)… T:T (tooth:tatoo) ratio. I’ll leave it for you because you explain it so much more “humorously.”

    Comment by mholzmann — Friday, 18, September, 2009 @ 10:27 | Reply

  4. The late twenties comment was meant to be ironic, not an actual brag about my vast experience. And as I said, (or tried to say anyway), I think in most cases you’re right that those people will not “outgrow” it, but some people will change. I’m not saying you have to hire them, or that anyone will. Just that in a few cases, the judgement that comes with the tattoos will be incorrect.

    Comment by Meagan — Friday, 18, September, 2009 @ 10:55 | Reply

  5. My daughter, now in her mid-thirties, married, mother of three, has decided to get a tattoo. I last gave her unsolicited advice when she announced she was dropping out of college and getting married. She told me of her decision to get a tattoo saying, “I know you won’t approve.”

    Well, I don’t. I view tattoos the same as I would self-mutilation. I’ve not said anything. I do wonder why she told me of her decision in that fashion if she was sure, herself, of the decision.

    That’s been a month ago and she still hasn’t gotten the tattoo.

    Comment by Crucis — Friday, 18, September, 2009 @ 12:17 | Reply

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    Comment by tattoo design — Saturday, 19, September, 2009 @ 04:43 | Reply

  7. “They can only indicate that a person has shown immaturity and poor judgement in the past”

    I would invite that comment to be shared with my grandpa and uncles who have tattoos that reflect their time in the service.

    And I love my tattoo, a result of my time in my beloved Corps. When you are part of something greater than yourself, sometimes you want to commemorate the occasion.

    I think there are a lot better thing we can judge people on, rather than their tattoos or lack thereof.

    Just a thought.

    Comment by Missy Me — Tuesday, 22, September, 2009 @ 21:52 | Reply

    • Missy–you are missing the point. A tattoo that indicates military service or allegiance to a band of (legal) brothers does not show poor judgement. Tattoos upon the face, celebrating allegiance to a criminal organization or time in prison does show immaturity and poor judgement. And had you gotten visible, disfiguring tattoos, even to commemorate your time in the Corps, you would have promptly discharged under less-than-honourable terms. I know they are cracking down on visibie ink because the last thing the the military needs is people with poor judgment and automatic weapons.

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Tuesday, 22, September, 2009 @ 22:09

  8. The reasoning is a little circular, though, isn’t it? Visible tattoos show poor judgement because they’ll hamper you in life, and they’ll hamper you in life because they show poor judgement.

    I agree about tasteless or antisocial tattoo content, but someone with a well-done, well-thought-out tattoo on visible skin isn’t necessarily immature or stupid.

    (Also, some people merely used to be immature. I worked with a guy with nasty biker tats all over; he’d cleaned up his act years before I met him but couldn’t afford removal.)

    Comment by Holly — Thursday, 24, September, 2009 @ 01:57 | Reply

    • The reasoning may be circular, but since when are people reasonable animals? And there are visible tattoos and there are visible tattoos. Arms/legs, backs, etc., are visible in the proper context. Facial tattoos are always visible, and will dramatically set you apart from the rest of the population. Now, you may not want to be a part of the rest of the population. That is all well and good. But deliberately setting yourself apart is putting a target on your back. You are at risk for a hostile response, AND it will limit your options later in life.

      Say you want to go into presidential politics. Or sales. Or investment banking. Or a career in military or law enforcement. Some of these mainstream institutions could use some fresh blood and ideas. I think facial tattoos would be a distraction or used as an excuse to marginalize your efforts.

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Thursday, 24, September, 2009 @ 09:17


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