We’re all going to die sometime — hopefully a long while from now and not in too much pain.
When that happens, someone we do not know, who we’ve likely never met before, will determine our cause of death. The overwhelming majority of deaths in this country occur from sicknesses and other natural causes. Some die from accidents. Others are suicides. However, some deaths arouse suspicions. A small percentage even involve foul play — even murder. That’s where the science of forensic pathology comes in. These experts with strong stomachs and a formadible fortitude examine bodies, collect the evidence, and ultimately make determinations which can sometimes produce far broader implications, not just for survivors of the deceased, but for society, as well.
Meeting Dr. Werner Spitz, the father of modern forensic pathology
Forensic pathologists have the coolest patients.
That’s just one of several jokes I heard at the annual conference of forensic pathologists’ held here in Las Vegas a few nights ago.
Forensic pathologists study dead people. Their objective is to determine cause of death. Popular culture knows this squeamish science mostly through popular television shows like “CSI.” However, forensic pathology involves far more than prodding corpses, probing for gunshot wounds, and sawing off skulls to examine brain tissue. As I would gradually come to discover, forensics have become the new frontier of law and order, bolstering the justice portion of the “criminal justice” system, while also sometimes igniting controversy and framing much of what we know of current events. Impartial to politics of sentiment, it’s findings can trigger murder charges, free the innocent, and even assuage the boiling tinder of race riots. At it’s core, forensics can also be the emotional salve of truth for survivors of the deceased, who may wonder what really happened to their friends and loved ones. Forensics is the dispensation of peace.
I’ve decided to pass on attending this year’s American Poker Awards, to be held in Los Angeles this weekend.
There are a number of reasons for this, which I won’t get into at the moment. I do want to express my support for the idea of handing out awards to those who have improved the game and for recognizing players and insiders who have made significant contributions over a certain period of time.
Are awards like this frivolous? Perhaps they are. But since just about every other business, sport, and art form honors its super achievers and icons, then so too should we. Even science, mathematics, economics, and literature indulge in their very own annual awards ceremonies. Poker, which is played by about 100 million people worldwide, rightly deserves a special night of spectacle, and the APA’s creators and organizers — Alex Dreyfus in particular — deserves our appreciation for making this happen.
There’s a new movie out right now, titled “Race.” It’s the life story of Jesse Owens, the Olympic legend and 4-time gold medal winner best known for his astounding accomplishments at the 1936 Olympiad, which were held in Berlin under the shadow of grandiose Nazi pageantry.
From critics’ reviews, the movie is won’t be shattering any world records. I have no plans to go see it. It’s quite sad that the life of one of the greatest athletes of the last century was reduced to a muddled mess that will likely end up on Showtime by the end of March. [LISTEN TO THE PODCAST AT PAUL HARRIS’ WEBSITE HERE…it’s terrific]
Owens died in 1980. But he remains an intriguing figure in history for what he experienced and endured not just in track and field, but in society as presumably one of America’s “heroes.”
I had the great honor of meeting Mr. Owens in person, once. That occasion took place back in 1976, four years before his death. Permit me to tell you that story.
Introduction to an Overly Long, Admittedly Self-Indulgent, Highly-Detailed, and Occasionally Funny Story of My Nevada Caucus Experience
Saturday morning, I attended the Nevada State Democratic Party caucus for Precinct #6672, which covers The Lakes section of Greater Las Vegas.
My precinct includes mostly single-family homes, plus some nice condos and a few apartment complexes in the area just north of Desert Inn and west of Durango. For those unfamiliar with Las Vegas, that’s about 7 miles off the Strip, heading west towards Summerlin.
Democracy in action.