This article explores affect and memory at roadside car crash memorials within the context of what Achille Mbembe calls “necropolitics”: the performance of power to determine who legitimately can kill both persons and the memory of persons. By analyzing the ritualized performance of compulsory compassion in news media stories about the actual or threatened removal of roadside memorials, I argue that there is an economy of power circulating in the practice of roadside memorialization, where some subjects are deemed legitimately memorable and some are not, where some subjects are legitimately allowed to memorialize their losses in public landscapes and others are not, and where anonymous drivers who drive by are supposed to feel a certain way about it all. Such a complex constellation of territorialized affect has significant consequences for understanding the politics of affect and memory in public landscapes.

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