Tuesday, March 20, 2007


A very small blurb in my home town newspaper today tells of a fellow who was found dead in the back of a City of Austin garbage truck yesterday. The report said that the Police are looking inot the matter as a "non-suspicious death". Huh ? I would think that they would be a little bit suspicious. If only to find out how the fellow got back there. Was he dead in a dumpster and picked up and dumped in ? Did he dive into the truck for a nap, earlier in the day, and die of a heart attack or from being crushed by thousands of pounds of Austin garbage ?I think that the big problem is the word suspicion. I am sure that the Police are "curious" about the death, just not suspicious about it in the legal sense (not looking for a suspect). But suspicion is the act or an instant of believing that something bad, wrong or harmful has happened, with little eviidence to support it. If I had found a dead guy in the back of my garbage truck at the end of the day, I might have had an "instant" of thinking that something bad, wrong or harmful had happened. Any death is per se "harmful" to the deceased. Even if the City has no culpability in the death, it is still "bad" or "wrong" that the truck drove around all day, making its rounds and dumping tons of garbage on the corpse.

Plus, how can the Police not suspect foul play. ?I have seen over a dozen T.V. shows where a guy is murdered and put in a dumpster (or parts of him are scatered around several dumpsters). Don't the Austin Police ever watch Law and Order. Dumpster killings and dismemberments are a dime a dozen in Manhattan. Lenny Briscoe would have been suspicious the second that he heard about it.Maybe the dead show up in garbage trucks down in Texas often enough to where it is no big deal. I don't hear it much anymore, but I used to hear people comment (usually after attending an expensive funeral) that they "just want to be put out with the trash". Maybe more people actually do that than I had realized and the Austin Sanitatioin folks are used to acting as a cheap funeral home.

The truth of the matter is that we all know what happened and the reason we don't treat it as suspicious is because it implicates all of us . I will give you a hundred to one that the deceased is a homeless guy. Whether it was an accident, negligence or a crime, no city official, and damn few of the public want to squander public resources looking into it. In the end you have to say that it is another example of a particularly greedy society not giving a good God Damn about its forgotten members. We see the homeless every day. Where do we think they die ? Do we think that in death, they are suddenly more loveable than they were in life and the families come and pick them up for a proper burial ? Hell no, they die of exposure and fellow homeless guys put them in dumpsters, so as not to have to answer a bunch of questions fron the Police.Who might or might not be suspicious.


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