This morning, many of us were a little taken aback to see images of a dead Muammar Qaddafi plastered across news sites and social media feeds without warning. Over the course of the past month, there have also been images of Michael Jackson’s autopsy photos posted unceremoniously, which have been used in the murder trial of Dr. Conrad Murray. This begs the question: why does the general public need or want to see post-mortem pictures of noteworthy people?

Back in 2006, when Saddam Hussein was executed in Baghdad, there was a demand for the release of cell phone footage of his death despite concerns about how it may influence some of his followers to retaliate. When Osama Bin-Laden was captured and killed by US forces this past May, there was again great interest in seeing his corpse (and even more fear that releasing these images would bait retributive violence from Al-Qaeda and their allies). News outlets have routinely shown pictures of bodies from the recent natural disasters in Haiti and Asia, Hurricane Katrina and other catastrophes that have cause massive losses of life (usually when these are people of color, it seems) with little regard for the deceased and their loved ones.

Clutch fam, do you need to see pics of dead people to process their demise? Does it make the tragedy or ‘victory’, in the case of a national “enemy” seem more real? Or do you find these images disturbing? Speak.

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