“The Killer in Me”: A Short Circuit and its Consequences

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“The Killer in Me”
A short circuit and the consequences

By Ingo Scheel

Whether it was actually murder, as the title suggests, but rather manslaughter or negligent homicide, was not made clear in the 90-minute “crime scene” the night before. Obviously it was a driver or an escape. Not an uncommon crime in Germany, but the days of this crime were numbered.

What would Billy Corgan say if he knew his songs are now being twisted into ‘Tatort’ titles? “The Killer in Me” was the title of the Stuttgart episode in which Lannert (Richy Müller) and Bootz (Felix Klare) had to deal with a fatal hit-and-run. If you translate the title, you quickly end up with Corgan’s band, the Smashing Pumpkins. “The killer in me is the killer in you” they say in their song “Disarm”, a track from the hit album “Siamese Dream” from 1993. The BBC once put the piece on the track because of the line “cut that little kid” . Index. There were discussions about alleged abortion references. Corgan later explained that the lyrics were about his troubled relationship with his parents.

Screenwriter and director Niki Stein is aiming for the viewer here. The killer in me… is the killer in YOU. In other words, what happens to the tragic hero, lawyer Ben Dellien (Nicholas Reinke), could happen to any of us in one way or another, me, you and exactly you out there. A carelessness, a frantic movement, the wrong decision in a split second and an accident has happened. Anyone who then loses courage and makes the wrong decision again is like Dellien in the film: dodging a driver, escaping an accident, in this case with particularly serious consequences. Dellien leaves the homeless man he hit by the side of the road, where he eventually dies a painful death.

Road traffic professionals will have noticed that his car was hardly a new car, at least not one registered after March 31, 2018. Since then, cars and light commercial vehicles had to be equipped with an automatic emergency call system. As early as 2015, a report from the US was circulating about this, the headline of which read more amusingly than the case itself. “The car betrayed its driver,” it read.

When you are betrayed by your own car

In Port St. Lucie, Florida, a 57-year-old caused a rear-end collision that damaged two vehicles and injured a passenger. The woman then fled. However, her car, a Ford Focus, independently called the police. Sync is the name of Ford’s proprietary system that automatically makes an emergency call after the airbag deploys, which is what happened in this case.

The system prescribed by the EU is called eCall, a vehicle-mounted device that automatically alerts the common European emergency number 112 in the event of an accident. In May, an 18-year-old in Rhineland-Palatinate faced betrayal by her own car. The young woman ran off the road, hit a barrier and then left the accident site without permission. A relatively mild case in contrast to the accident driver in “The Murderer in Me”.

A few years earlier, a crash test in Cologne had been extremely bizarre. There, the TÜV test engineers failed to disable the built-in alarm system of a luxury sedan. When the luxury car crashed, the pretensioners and airbags reported the whole thing to the control center. The fire brigade that had arrived saw only a few cardboard comrades – and withdrew without achieving anything. The crash test dummy in me…

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