General Question

Nimis's avatar

Are services like crime scene clean-up just the further commercialization of death or a godsend for the victim’s family?

Asked by Nimis (13088 points ) October 13th, 2008

On a whole, I think our society is too far removed from any real understanding of death. It’s scurried away in hospital rooms and preempted with convalescent homes. I think confronting death would only bring a greater understanding of how we live.

But I’m kind of torn about the issue when it comes to violent death.
Is violent death something that we should confront?
Or are even remotely capable of confronting?

Are services like crime scene clean-up (the family’s responsibility and required by law, but usually covered by insurance) just the further commercialization of death or a godsend for the victim’s family? (Or both?)

Note for Augustlan: Yup. I’ve been watching TB again!

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14 Answers

deaddolly's avatar

i can’t imagine coming home to a bloodied mess after a tragedy in my home.
i would consider them a godsend. we had a neighbor beat her son’s head in with a baseball bat because the voices in her head told her to do it. She almost got her other son as well. imagine if this family had to deal with the clean up.
violence surrounds us—you just have to turn on the news or read the paper to find it. We confront it daily, but when it hits home; that should be up to a family to decide.

ckinyc's avatar

1000% godsend!

Nimis's avatar

Would definitely be a godsend for me too.
I really can’t imagine having to deal with that.

I think it should be up to the family though.
And I don’t think it is.

While seeing a body is traumatic, it helps the family come to terms with their passing.
But that is usually for non-violent deaths. Does that still apply for violent deaths?
The idea kind of makes me cringe.

deaddolly's avatar

possibly with families?

Cleaning up a crime scene should be a part of the murderer’s sentance. Also talking to the families of the victims…putting a face/life to their victim. Showing the impact of their actions..

marinelife's avatar

Definitely a help to the victim’s family. Commercialization just means that a business is fulfilling a need. If that business was not their, the victim’s family or firends would have to take on thois gruesome chore, whcih I think is better done by professionals with the tools and chemical agents to do it easier and faster.

Not to be critical, but this seems like a slightly strange question.

Nimis's avatar

I was recently watching a series on HBO where a young girl cleaned up the crime scene from her grandmother’s homicide. As I’m sure it was meant to do, it made me incredibly uncomfortable.
If I were in her situation, I would simply want for it to be gone.

But I also realize that my reaction to it is very much conditioned by the society we live in. Death and disease are (ideally) instantly sterilized. Anything but youth and health is quickly and quietly swept under the rug. While the blood made me uncomfortable, how we deal with death is unsettling as well.

Though, I agree, the marriage between this larger sociological topic (about the commercialization and sterilization of death) and this more gruesome example is awkward at best.

marinelife's avatar

@Nimis I think your larger point of society’s figurative sweeping of death under the rug to very valid, and I agree with you very unfortunate. Could make for an interesting question in its own right.

basp's avatar

I think there are a lot of opportunities for us/society to deal more honestly with death. However, facing the horror of a crime scene is probably not the opportunity one wants to encourage the family to participate in.

augustlan's avatar

If I were in that situation, I’d be so thankful that such services exist.

@Nimis: I was gonna’ ask, too! Great show, BTW.

jvgr's avatar

As a strong proponent of both/and who is most often against either/or; the situation you ask about comes down to this:
Everybody wins (both/and, not either/or)

madsmom1030's avatar

I wish to share something personal- as the victim of a violent death. my first husband was severally bipolar and killed himself with a firearm and i held him in my arms as he died after trying cpr. due to the method and what i looked like i can only imagine what the room looked like after i was carried out of the house and my husband was removed. i never slept in that house again and only went back weeks later to choose what i wanted out of the house. it was thoroughly cleaned before i ever went back into the house and i was very thankful to the people who took on the task of cleaning that horrible room. i would not have been able to go back into the house otherwise. i am deeply thankful to the individuals who took on that difficult task and they also did it for free so all i can say is thank-you.

Jeruba's avatar

I once helped a seller of cleaning services write some advertising flyers, and one of his services was dealing with “red stains.” I asked him about the term. He said that is one of the toughest classes of stain, and it’s not just about red wine on the carpet, After the police are finished with the scene of a violent crime, the householder is left to deal with the mess. I was appalled. He said, “You never think about what happens afterward, but who do you think is going to clean up, the cops?”

It happened that some time after that, a murder was committed next door. I saw the victim’s family in the back yard the following day, handling the cleanup alone. My heart goes out to anyone who has had to face such a horror. If I were ever in such terrible need, I would certainly hire a service.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

A friend of mine found a tenant in his apartment unit that had decided to commit suicide with a shotgun, and the tenant left most of his head all over the wall, ceiling and floor. I cannot imagine what it would be like to clean bits of bone and brain OUT of a plaster wall, but yeah, that’s what the crime scene people are paid to do. I guess my job isn’t so bad after all, when you think about what it could be like. shudder

amazonstorm's avatar

If it were me, I would be very thankful to have such people around. I know that when my mom died, I was so happy for my relatives stepping in and taking the brunt of funeral planning and whatnot from my father and I. If someone in my family had died violently, I would appreciate someone cleaning up the mess so I wouldn’t have to deal.

My loved one just died. I think the last thing on my mind would be trying to get blood out of the carpet.

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