Whether you find yourself in the middle of a fictional murder mystery or horror movie, or if you somehow participated in a drive-by shooting, or if you were in the middle of a cataclysmic natural disaster the fact remains that there are a number of things to consider if you think someone might be dead.
  1. Make sure it isn't you: This is dreadfully important. In fact, it is so important, that if you consider this incorrectly, you will be unable to properly contemplate any of the other considerations because you will in fact be dead and it will not matter. Check your own pulse. If you can do that, you're probably alright. At least one of your arms is working, so count your blessings.
  2. Find out who it is: It is important to do this before you check to see if they are actually alive. This can usually be accomplished by just glancing at the face and what's left of the body. Did you know who this person was? Were they close to you? If it was a complete stranger you will have an understandably dramatically different approach to how you handle this catastrophe than if it is someone you actually cared about. Now, granted, of course many people would tell you that if it was a stranger you should be just as concerned but let's face it. We're human. If it's someone close to you prepare to go into shock and mourn properly, but don't actually start that until the proper time (see below). If it's a complete stranger, go through his pockets and look for loose change. This is patently normal behavior for humans and don't allow yourself to feel guilty about it.
  3. Ensure that they are in fact dead: Usually checking their pulse will be sufficient.* If you do not know how to do that, check to see if they are breathing. You may want to scream into their head and try to get their attention. It will probably not help them but it will help you feel better. If you actually get signs of life, then you have successfully assured both yourself and your subjective existence of life that this person who you thought might be dead is actually not. Pat yourself on the back and go on with your life. If this person is showing no signs of life then continue on through this procedure.
  4. Panic: This should take no unnecessary descriptive prose on my part. Do what comes naturally. Beat your hands into the body's chest. Scream at the heavens so they know to open the gate for this poor sot because they may not have been paying attention up there. Rant, wail, gnash your teeth a bit. Panic can be your friend. Contemplate pulling your hair out of your head or otherwise cause undue pain to yourself. Allow tears to flow and go through any required mourning procedures. If you haven't considered that yet, perhaps you now realize that there are Things to Consider if you plan to someday mourn someone.
  5. Call for an ambulance: Even though you're pretty damn sure this sucker's dead, since you are reading this, chances are you are not properly qualified to make this determination. Who knows? Perhaps you're wrong. Perhaps he's only mostly dead. Call for an ambulance. Very loudly. Don't bother with a phone - just scream at the top of your lungs for someone else to dial 911. You're too busy with the dead guy to be bothered with such trifles and calling people on the phone.
  6. Refer back to step two, and act accordingly: (see above). If you know this person and they mattered to you greatly, get into a fetal position and wail uncontrollably until someone comes by to console you. If you play your cards right they might sedate you which means you get free drugs and that can be a lot of fun. Insist upon time off from work due to this terrible experience. Go shopping and buy a bunch of cool black clothes. They're always in style anyway. Even if you have black clothes, go buy some more because doing illogical things to feel better about yourself never hurt anybody. If you do not know this person, compose yourself and show concern and pity but don't overdo it, and of course when no one's looking go through their pockets and look for loose change.
  7. Find out what killed him: Whatever it was this person was doing last, odds are that had a hand in killing him. Make sure not to do that in the future. Chalk this up as a learning experience.
  8. Contemplate your own mortality: Face it. We're all going to die eventually anyway. Don't Be Afraid. Some consider life a blessing. Others consider it a curse. Still others don't consider it at all which is what things like this node are for: to remind you. This person died. You're gonna die. Just accept it. Consider this event a life-affirming one that has changed you if it helps you to feel better. Solemnly vow to live life to its fullest from this day forward, and thank whatever it is you personally believe to be your Creator that it didn't happen to you this time. Then go back to your normal humdrum life and forget you ever said any of that stuff. If you get out of bed in the morning and make your way to a bed at night, you're doing a lot better than some people. Contrary to popular belief, whether you are climbing Mount Everest or dorking around on a computer, you are in fact living. No one said you had to accomplish certain things within a certain period of time while you're here. Just take things day to day and try not to do whatever that idiot who died did.
There. Now you're all caught up. Now you know precisely what to do if you think someone might be dead. Now, go forth and live some more. After all it's the only real reason why we're all here.
* rootbeer277 says "I'd say step 7, 'find out what killed him' needs to be moved up to step 2, immediately after making sure you're not the dead one. In many cases, what killed him could very well still be an immediate threat everybody around, in which case you should try to outrun the slowest person around you." I thought about making the change suggested, but then it would make this comment read funny. Besides, I didn't list the above in any particular order. They're just things to consider and not an order of directions. So I'm torn. =)
* Sylvar says "Vital addendum: If you're in a horror movie and you think the bad guy is dead, DO NOT check his pulse! Shoot him a few more times, in the face, from a few steps away." I agree with him. You can never be too careful. For more information on this topic, please see surviving a horror movie.
More Things to Consider:

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