I’m frankly unsure if this article represents the full story, and if there might be background information that is being overlooked. But I find the idea that the public is entitled to autopsy photos to be outrageous. Not everything that the government does must be a part of the public record. Just as no one would expect their IRS files and other records to be made available to the media on request, so too should a person have the right to expect that gruesome pictures of their body being dissected after their death will remain private.
I’ve just read the CNN story, and I am horrified at the actions of the Orlando Sentinel.
I’ve got problems with this for two reasons.
First, although the Sentinel might not publish the photos, they would still be part of the paper’s files. What’s to keep an unscrupulous employee from making copies and selling them to rotten.com or a similar outlet, or even make multiple copies and selling them to morbid collectors? Granted, this might also happen through the coroner’s office, but at least there, are legal remedies due to privacy laws.
Second, I fail to see what legitimate interest a news outlet has in investigating a death that was clearly accidental. The crash was televised nationally, and it was clear from the resulting autopsy and investigation that it was accidental. There is not a lot of cause for speculation that there was foul play, and even if there is, it’s not the job of the Orlando Sentinel to prove it.
I’d have a problem even if this scenario never came to pass. Why does a person have to allow employees of the Sentinal to view his autopsy photos? Privacy should preclude them as well, even if they never spread them to anyone else.
I must admit that I myself once viewed autopsy photos of Tupac Shakur on the web. But the website that published them put in some language about how the public is entitled to see them, which got me to thinking about it (and regretting it).
What makes the Orlando Sentinel think that they are better than the medical examiner at dertiming the cause of death?
However there has been many prblems concerning the death of JFK from the fact that the photos were witheld from the public and only drawings of the wounds were permited. However since no-one even thinks that there was a second gunman in the death of Ernhart I think we should respect the widows wishes.