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Shame on you, internet!

July 2, 2008

UPDATE: It seems that, nearly a year later, this story has surfaced again. While I’m thrilled that the family continues to seek justice, I maintain my stance that the best thing that we can do is to forget about all of this.

As I perused Google Trends this morning in search of ideas for a new blog post, I came upon a disturbing trend and I felt that I had to write about it. Google Trends is a listing of the top 100 most-searched-for words or phrases from the last day or so. Often, looking at Google Trends is how I learn about the new hot issues, and it is usually a lot like a puzzle, in which I have to piece together seemingly unrelated terms to get the whole story. Today, as I read the list, I began to see a trend, and it wasn’t a pretty one. Some of the search terms make complete sense, including “ps3 trophies”, “hancock”, and my personal favorite, “list of problems solved by macgyver” (I’m going to look that one up myself, I think). However, I soon saw the day’s popular trend emerging, and it was astonishing (and a little scary). Some of the popular search terms for today are “porsche girl”, “nikki katsouris”, “nikki catsouris”, (not sounding so bad yet, right?), “nikki catsouras crash photos”, “faces of death”, “death photos” (now you see where this is going), “nikki catsouras accident pictures”, “death pictures”, “fatal accident” etc.  It turns out that Google users are incredibly morbid.

I looked up the story online, so I would know what everyone is so excited about. It turns out that Nikki Catsouras was a young woman who crashed her father’s porsche and died. This would be terrible enough (if commonplace in a country where similar accidents occur every day), but the events that followed are truly horrifying. Apparently, someone took photos of Nikki at the crash scene, after her death. These photos were then leaked to the internet, posted on a fake myspace page, and even emailed repeatedly to Nikki’s parents. The crash was in fall of 2006, but the story lives on, and apparently has gained national interest in the last few days. I didn’t look up the accident pictures, but I did find a photo of Nikki while she was alive.

Nikki Catsouras

This whole ugly mess reminds me of one of the reasons that I sometimes really dislike the internet. About five years ago, one of my cousins died in a car accident. He was 19. Luckily, because he wasn’t a young attractive girl, and because he was driving a pontiac and not a porsche, he didn’t receive this kind of media attention. His family grieved, the community grieved, and then everyone began the slow process of moving on. It should have happened exactly like that for Nikki’s family. Instead, they have had to deal with hundreds of thousands of people who have formed a sort of death cult around their daughter.

I suggest that the opposite needs to be done. Those of us on the internet who feel that this sort of thing is unallowable (hopefully this includes my readers) should pay their respects to a young girl who lost her life, and then move on. Don’t look up the accident photos. Don’t repost this article. Don’t search google for more information, thus feeding into the trend. Just reach the end of this article, say your goodbyes to a young girl that you never knew (and if you’re the praying type, offer a prayer for her family), and forget about it.

In closing, if anyone who knew Nikki is reading this, my fondest thoughts go out to you. I am sorry for the troubles that you have been through, and I hope that this short article does not add to them.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhea Jean permalink
    May 5, 2009 3:08 am

    I’m so sorry for her parents!! I have lost a child myself but due to natural causes! That has no bearing on how I feel about the TRASH that want’s to put pictures of there baby on the net. Who EVER IS the ONE’S doing this to these people YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT IT BEING YOUR OWN!!!!!! WOULD YOU LIKE IT!!!! That is there baby girl NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!

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