When I lived in Texas, over ten years ago, I found a book of photos taken by a Los Angeles police photographer of traffic fatalities from the 1930’s through 1950’s. At the time, cars didn’t have seat belts.
I was fascinated by the black-and-white photos, and seeing the circumstances of the accidents. Many of the victims appeared to be barely injured, peacefully slouched in the driver’s or passenger seat, the front or sides of their car crushed, and windshield shattered. Others were covered in blood, their limbs unnaturally bent, and pain and struggle frozen on their faces. Some were dressed in fancy clothes, no doubt starting or returning from a night-on-the-town. While others met their death during the day, perhaps during the course of work or running an errand.
I urgently wanted the book, even though I was filled with disgust at my curiosity, even voyeurism, at my eagerness to flip through the pages, scrutinizing each picture for clues as to what happened to the victims.
Within a few weeks of purchasing the book, I witnesses several traffic fatality. One was within a mile of my house. I blamed the book, illogically reasoning my zeal for seeing the pictures somehow channeled negative energy.
The next day, I brought the book to work, and left it braced against a tree, hoping someone would take it or perhaps, it would be scoped up by a security officer.
Watching Donald Trump’s vile acceptance speech last week, I felt the same disgust and horror, as if I was witnessing something that was none of my business. After five or ten minutes, my mouth agape, I sprung to my feet, and rushed out of the houses, snapping at my husband. I couldn’t possibly listen to another minutes of his hatred-filled, inflammatory rhetoric.
He crossed the line in so many ways.
Like the photos of the horrendous traffic fatalities, I can’t erase seeing his condescending stance or hearing the shameless condemnations that spewed from his mouth.