Friday, December 27, 2013

Hed of the (rapidly fading) month

Heds like this seem to call forth the literary analogies, but they're actually pretty common. "No beer" doesn't mean no individual, mortal beer; it means an absence of beer where beer could reasonably -- OK, this is the cop blotter, so a there's a limited range of values for "reasonably" -- have been expected to be:

South Carolina authorities say a 44-year-old woman angry at a man for returning home without beer on Christmas beat and stabbed him with a ceramic squirrel.

And that, alas, clears up the other ambiguity. She didn't take out to do violence to every ceramic squirrel on the block; she hit him upside the head with a handy one, then apparently kept going after it broke. Life only imitates Elmore Leonard because Elmore Leonard imitates life.

And it wouldn't be a four-graf AP national story about episodic holiday crime if it didn't add some value to the local report:

It wasn't known if she had a lawyer.

Because if it was known, the AP would have called the lawyer for a comment! Though if it really wanted to do her a favor, it could think about not naming either the victim or the perp (nobody's being nominated for a federal judgeship or anything here, after all) when it takes local crime worldwide just for laffs.

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