The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Sometimes, when I read news items, questions pop up in my head that I think should be answered by the reports.

Take this one, for example...

Gunman with 18-year grudge suspected after 3 killed at town council meeting

The first question was triggered by the headline... "suspected"? I would think it would be pretty darn clear that a "gunman" would be the person responsible for the three deaths but one never knows. It could have been that the gunman stopped the real attacker who had gone amok, though that seemed a little far-fetched. So I read further and found that it was, indeed, the gunman who had killed the people:

"By the time he was subdued, Rockne Newell had fatally shot three people and wounded several others, police said."

I suppose it is okay that the police say that... rather than a reporter.

It was once common for reporters to state the obvious. I remember those days. But I am old. Now, reporters use "alleged" and "suspected of" and other phrases or words which do not violate that old saw "innocent until proven guilty."

Never mind that the concept is for the court, for the trial, for the jury to maintain while trying the accused. It is a bit of "legal fiction" that protects the defendant from the state. Which I happen to agree with... protection for the defendant against the power of the state.

The reason, I think, that reporters do this now (used "alleged" and "suspected") is to avoid the "taint the jury" thing. It appears to be unimportant that knowledge of the crime in any way seems to get you dismissed from serving on a jury these days.

But it just seems so silly.

There was an ambiguous sentence in the story (in two reports on it):

"Bernie bearhugged him and took him down. He shot (the assailant) with his own gun," Reber said. ["Reber" is Pocono Record reporter Chris Reber, who was a witness and a reporter covering the town meeting and "Bernie" is Bernie Kozan, the director of a local park preservation group]

Now, "with his own gun"... did that mean the shooter's gun or Bernie's gun? Let's assume it was the shooter's gun, how does one go from holding a shooter in a bearhug to getting one's hand(s) on the shooter's gun? Must have been quite a tussle. And a very brave move on the part of Mr. Kozan.

And where was the shooter shot?

"Police said two people tackled the suspect."

We know who one of them was, what about the other? Male, female? What really happened?

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