William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Wednesday, 29, December, 2010

True, that.

Filed under: Links to Greatness,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 14:37

More of why I don’t fly. Hat tip, Alan.

Tuesday, 16, November, 2010


It is funny, I have become much more aware of freedoms, as I get more and more interested in second amendment issues and other civil rights. Human rights, not to put too fine a point on it. As I have become more aware, I have become more sensitive to the glee in which humans like to tell other humans what to do. I find it very grating now, and it shows up in unexpected places.

I was listening to Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s Splendid Table the other day. Now, I like food, and I like to eat food, and I like learning about food. I’ve gotten some very good ideas from Lynne. But she casually mentioned San Francisco’s ban on McDonald’s Happy Meals, and that some people thought this was an infringement on the people’s right to choose. (Not to mention doesn’t the City Council have better things to do with it’s time than being a nanny to the people of San Francisco?). But Ms. Kasper mentioned that a lot of these McDonald’s restaurants were in poor areas, and didn’t the poor have a right to be protected?

Protected? The implication that the poor were stupid, and dumb, and needed wiser heads to help them make better choices was just glaring. I’m a college professor and a supposedly educated man, yet I know I do plenty of bone-headed things over the course of a day. But I would take great umbrage at being told I have a right to be protected. Children and the feeble-minded have the right to be protected. Adults have the responsibility to make their own choices, for good or for ill.

In that one sentence, Ms. Kasper, showed her education, her elitism, and her scorn, and that has left a bad taste in my mouth. It is true that there are some hobbies that are more typical of the upper classes than the working classes. Usually the distinguishing factors are money and time. Polo is different from stock car racing. No doubt about that. To say that one is morally superior than the other, well, that is snobbery.

The thing is, Ms. Kasper seems like a lot of fun. I’ll be she’s a nice person and fun to be around. It’s much more disturbing to see unconscious meanness, because it makes you wonder about yourself.

Tuesday, 19, October, 2010

Dental School-I & II

Filed under: People who need pianos dropped on them,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 18:40

Vascular Pathology I; Vascular Pathology II.
Vascular Pathology I

Vascular Pathology II
QOTD “You ARE going to post these lectures aren’t you?”

WtC “I’m sure you meant, ‘Professor, will you please make sure these lectures are posted online for us?’ That is a polite comment that engenders the response ‘Sure!’ Saying ‘You ARE going to post these lectures, aren’t you?’ in a hard tone is a really disrespectful command, and is going to be answered ‘Of course not.’ You want to try to rephrase that?”


Thursday, 16, September, 2010

All Linky, no Thinky

Filed under: Haterade,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 21:40

Go HERE and read.  And then go HERE and HERE

And if you cannot stand the heat, Mr. Obama, perhaps you should consider a different line of work.

Wednesday, 4, August, 2010

I Really Hate This

Filed under: Forensics,Haterade,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 17:27

The unrelated male care giver of an infant struck him so “he would act like a boy and not a little girl” according to news reports. The boy was beaten to death.

Wednesday, 14, July, 2010

The Last Word About Roman Polanski

Filed under: Haterade,Links to Greatness,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 23:45


Thursday, 8, July, 2010

Parental Rights?

Filed under: Cleveland,Forensics,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 14:38

Jada Ruiz-Jones is a nine-month old infant. She lies in an Akron hospital, in the pediatric ICU, and she has been in the hospital for four months. She is blind and deaf. The pupils of her eyes are fixed and dilated (as in figure A. She takes spontaneous breaths “occasionally”. When she was admitted she had retinal hemorrhages like these.

From the information given in the news reports, this child has a very low Pediatric Coma Score–the descriptions are of an infant with severe brain injury and loss of brain tissue. Jada’s brain has been so damaged it is being broken down by her own body–in a process known as autolysis. These patients have what is referred to as “respirator brain“.

People do not recover from these injuries. Jada can be kept on life support for a long time, depending on the quality of her nursing care, but eventually she will get a bedsore or a pneumonia which will lead to systemic sepsis and death. She could get a feeding tube and a tracheostomy, but her doctors are reluctant to do so, as she will never be able to leave the hospital.

All this makes me angry. I really dislike it when people injure those who cannot fight back. What makes me more angry, is the man who is accused of inflicting the injuries, Jada’s father, is fighting to keep the child on life support. His lawyer calls it a “parental rights issue.” Now, at present, Mr. Jones is merely accused of beating his child. If Jada dies, though, he could be charged with murder.

Parental rights are not to be sneezed at. But parental rights should not be used as a screen to escape punishment. Had Jada not been Mr. Jones’ child, this would not even be an issue, and the very large conflict of interest would not arise. Parents, ideally should have their child’s best interests at heart. It is deeply immoral to grow your own victim.

Tuesday, 22, June, 2010

Capital Punishment

Filed under: Haterade,People who need pianos dropped on them,Politics — williamthecoroner @ 22:52

With the death of Ronnie Lee Gardner in Utah last week, much ink has been spilled on the subject of capital punishment. I am profoundly ambivalent about capital punishment. One the one hand, as a firearms owner, I have no problem with violence recoiling upon the violent. On the other hand, I trust no institution of men to be able to administer justice perfectly. Frankly, with some governments I have lived under I don’t trust them to investigate building violations properly, let alone take someone’s life.

As a forensic pathologist, I have long been interested in the pathology of capital punishment. I keep meaning to write an article about it. I’ve been meaning to write the damn article for the past twelve years. I don’t think it’s gonna happen any time soon. But Robb Allen’s post caught my eye recently, and that stimulated my thinking.

To the best of my knowledge, 36 governments in the United States (34 states, the military, and the federal government) have the death penalty on the books. In Victorian Britain, there are 222 capital offenses, which was reduced to three (murder, treason, arson in the Royal Dockyards–i.e. sabotage of the Navy) by the 1960’s. The United States has held that only murder and treason are worth taking another person’s life in the late XX century. There are five different methods of execution on the books in the United States, shooting, hanging, gassing, electrocution, and lethal injection.

The history of execution methods is interesting. Many doctors have been involved, and many methods have been employed to make the deaths 1. swift, 2. painless, and 3. clean. Unfortunately, the human body is quite tough. And, like the old joke, you can pick any two. The ones that are swift and painless tend to be, well, oogie. Shooting in the head with a shotgun is swift and painless. It splatters, though. Decapitation, swift, painless, and bloody. Hanging, now, that is hit or miss. Too long a drop, and there is a decapitation. To short a drop, and the person lives on the rope for minutes.

All the other, “modern”, “scientific” methods of killing, well are clean, but are neither swift nor painless. Just ask Caryl Chessman or Jesse Joseph Tafero. The more modern methods also give deniability to the people who carry out the execution. No one knows exactly who flips the switch or has the blank charge. This is a separate issue. If you don’t want perform an execution, don’t be the headsman. If one is unwilling to own one’s actions, they probably shouldn’t be done. Certainly if one desires a clean kill, make a clean kill, and mop up the mess.

And if the mess is enough to keep you from performing an execution, then don’t do them. LWOP is a perfectly good deterrent. But then, again, mean what you say. In Europe, Life in Prison means parole eligibility in fifteen years. . For reasons of squeamishness, for concerns about justice, for mercy in general, I can understand the desire to avoid capital punishment. Don’t forget about the victim years later, though.

Monday, 14, June, 2010

Who Works for Whom?

Filed under: Haterade,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 18:42

Congressman Bob Etheridge D-NC doesn’t seem to remember. Look here.

His office addresses are:

Washington, DC
1533 Longworth House Office Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4531

Raleigh District Office
333 Fayetteville Street, Suite 505 Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 829-9122

I think I might let him know what I think. Join me if you wish.

Thursday, 20, May, 2010

Draw Mohammed Day

Filed under: People who need pianos dropped on them,Politics — williamthecoroner @ 10:21

Look–I’m down with iconoclasm, I can see where artists might wish to avoid depicting the human form following the theory that man was made in the image of the divine, and one wishes to avoid the depicting the divine because people might worship the image instead of the divine itself. This whole point seems a trifle silly with the advent of photographic technology, and downright ludicrous with the invention of movies and TV–if in 2010, one cannot tell the difference between an image and the real thing, there’s a major problem. Indeed some of the repeating patterns that are seen are really quite attractive. I can see parallels on the decoration of the Taj Mahal with Celtic decorations–again, the repeating patterns.

I do not wish to have the rules of a religion that I do not follow imposed on me, and in return I will not attempt to oppose the rules of my religion upon you. Got it? And any person who uses religion as an excuse for bigotry, violence, and intimidation is looking for something to take offense at…. feel free to write my name on your list, for I am your enemy. More here.

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