Dead Bodies…No Fun! This article is by author and retired ATF Special Agent Mark Rusin

 Dead Bodies…No Fun!

Since I was a young, rookie cop in Las Vegas, dead bodies have always bothered me.    Not so much the elderly who pass due to natural causes.  Those people (although still sad to see) are expected to pass on. 


However, the younger the victim the more I couldn’t sleep, especially when blood and violence were involved. 


Walking into a crime scene where a dead body lies is a horrendous, eerie feeling.  It causes your mind to wander and wonder what was going through the victim’s mind when they fought for their life and lost.  After all, it was their scary final seconds on earth.


Shootings and knifings were particularly hard on me.  Hell, I hate to get a paper cut let alone come upon some guy or gal who has just been shot or sliced open.


I vividly recall the faces of a lot of the dead bodies I saw.  The hard part is that while on duty you must disassociate yourself from the victims.  You must or you can’t do your job. 


I remember being overwhelmed at the MGM Grand Hotel fire scene.  Although I was running on pure adrenaline for most of my shift, I couldn’t help but break down near the end when I had to pull a couple apart and place each into a body bag.  They were recently married and locked in a sleeping embrace.  This really bothered me, but I had to keep on and “pretend” like it didn’t.


A dead guy hanging from a tree, a young Asian girl who drowned herself in her family pool, another poor guy who ended his own life by wedging a shotgun between the floor and his throat, just to mention a few.


How do cops deal with such tragedies?   It’s not easy.  A lot of them drink.


Drinking and writing worked well for me and it still does.  Although since my heart attack in 2011 the drinking part not so much. 


Coping with tragedies and being able to talk about them and for me write about them has been a Godsend over the years.  I love telling a good cop story.  It is a lot easier telling stories from experience rather than making stuff up.  Expressing yourself on paper is rather soothing I find.  It allows me to vent and relive the tragedy.  Then I feel a lot better and that is good enough for me.  It is also a lot more cost-effective and serves to avoid the stigma of going to a psychiatrist.

Dead Bodies…No Fun

One quadruple homicide crime scene so gruesome that I worked as an ATF Special Agent actually inspired me to write my first crime novel title: JUSTICE FOR DALLAS which is available on