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The Carletonian

Gary Telgenhoff, forensic pathologist, discusses television and reality

<iday’s Convocation was led by Gary Telgenhoff, a member of the rock band Skinner Rats, Deputy Medical Examiner at the Clark County Coroner's Office in Las Vegas, and a forensic pathologist and consultant for the hit television drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." With disarming charm and black humor, he introduced himself as saying that “I see dead people.” Telgenhoff’s GRAPHIC presentation was entitled, "Speak for You: Telling the Tales the Dead Can't Tell."

Thus, Telgenhoff acted as a liaison for the dead but also used this convocation as an opportunity to expound the lessons his work has taught him along the way.

Telgenhoff insists that CSI as a show, although the medical jargon is authentic, “the whole set-up is wrong.” Typically, CSIs do the “dirty groundwork, get bossed around by everybody but without them the rest of us wouldn’t exist.” So what don’t they do? “Most things you see on TV,” he chuckled. Conceptually speaking, Telgenhoff explained some of the challenges faced in creating the screenplay; the writer often invents sensationalism, which has to be undercut by the scientific crux of reality that Telgenhoff proffers. In fact, once, the course of an entire episode was veered in another direction just because he pointed out a flaw in its plot that wasn’t conducive to reality!

A corpse often connotes ambiguity. That’s where Telgenhoff comes into the picture; his job title involves examining bodies and the various details that might clue him into fleshing out a larger picture of their deaths by determining the causes and nature of death. Having studied for 16 years in college, Telgenhoff is an expert in his field and also often testifies in court.

As Telgenhoff proceeded to speak about this macabre and fascinating career, he also themed in the idea of “choices and consequences.”

Case One: A man was found dead in his room with his intestines bulging out of his abdomen, cuts and bruises lashing his body, and a neck showing many severs and slashes stained red. But there wasn’t a sign of breaking and entering. With the audience puzzled, Telgenhoff explained the verdict: With 3371 NG/ML of Ecstasy found in his system, this man was high on a “bender” and had decided to kill himself.

Case Two: A 21-year-old Danielle tried some Ecstasy at a rave one night. She passed out when she got home and was found dead the next morning.

Telgenhoff pointed out how all these cases highlighted some disturbing aspects of human nature.He himself hails from the foundations of Rock ‘n’ Roll and he knew what it was like to party. But he was quick to dispel the myths associated with drugs like X: Though this generation considers them harmless, they are often the cause of paranoia, hallucination, self-mutilation, and death.

In light of the grave realities Telgenhoff exposed, he harked back to his aphorism on choices and consequences. With the warning ringing aloud, he concluded convocation to much appreciative applause.

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