There are few people in this world who elicit sympathy like parents who have lost a child. Their tragedy is every parent's worst fear. Now imagine you've lost a child, and then you hear that your child's photo has shown up on Google Maps? More to the point, a photo of your dead child is on Google Maps, where anyone in the world can see it?
That's the news a California family got recently. Kevin Barrera was just 14 when he was shot to death in 2009 near a railroad track in Richmond, California. His killer has never been found, but satellite imaging managed to capture a photo of his dead body and a police cruiser that had responded to the scene of the crime. Because Google uses satellite images for their maps, that's the photo folks can find when they're looking for directions.
The (only) good news in all of this?
It turns out even Google has a soft spot for parents who have lost a child. The search engine doesn't typically alter its maps for anyone; they'll even defend their rights to display public information in court. But when the Barreras contacted the site, the folks at Google didn't put up a fight.
They immediately expressed sympathy for the family and pledged to take it down -- a process that will take a few days.
Good on Google. The company isn't known for bending to just anyone, and normally I stand with them. Nothing gets me going quite like people who are always asking for special treatment.
But the Barreras aren't just "anyone," and this treatment isn't so much special as it is simply right. They're a family that has been through one of the worst tragedies possible: losing a child.
In short: people, giant websites, EVERYONE should bend over backward for people like them. Not because they ask but because it's the right thing to do. They've been through enough; why should they have to go through more?
Kevin Barrera deserves more respect than having his dead body viewed every time someone Googles how to get from one place to another in Richmond, California, and so do they.
Do you know anyone who has lost a child?
Image via KTVU