Monday, November 26, 2007

The man who would be suspect

Why pay such attention to cop reporting? Because so much can go so wrong in so few inches of it:
Robbery victim shoots suspect
Police say it was a robbery attempt gone bad Sunday night in east Charlotte, and they say a would-be suspect is hospitalized as a result.
Just a few questions, your honor. 1) What would a robbery attempt "gone good" look like, and under what circumstances would we describe it as such? 2) Since nothing in the hed is attributed or qualified, what do you expect to gain by qualifying anything in the text? Among other things, if there was a "robbery" for someone to be a victim of, how bad did it go? 3) Did anybody bother to look up the phrase "would-be" to see if was grotesquely out of tune? And perhaps find out that it means wishing to be, posing as? ("No, officer, I'm not the suspect. I'm just posing as a suspect.")

The incident happened about 11:20 p.m. in the parking lot of the McDonalds restaurant on Albemarle Road at Farm Pond Lane.
Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli apostrophe.

According to police, two armed men confronted another man in the parking lot and tried to rob him. The would-be victim, however, pulled out a gun and shot one of the suspects in the stomach. Police say the victim then ran off.
Now that we've decided what the suspect is, could we put some time into whether it's a "victim" or a "would-be victim"? And if we're going to attribute anything in this graf, should it be the sentence in which somebody actually shoots somebody?

The wounded suspect was taken by MEDIC to Carolinas Medical Center with wounds that police say are not life-threatening. Robbery detectives are investigating the case.
Glad they're not investigating the doughnut supply or anything.

Nothing in there is especially complicated. Most of it submits to some pretty routine fixes. Until somebody figures out that cop reports in the Brave New Online World still need a few extra sets of eyes too, this sort of thing is going to continue.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where to start? They turn newbies loose on the cops beat because the people with experience don't wanna to it no more nohow. So. A would-be victim shoots a "suspect." Doubt he was a suspect. Suspects are guys cops haul in for questioning. "He was a guy holding a gun when I shot him, occifer." But the idiocy of all that semantic stupidity is the least of it. Incident? Jiminy. You got a guy scared out of his mind by robbers. And in that mind-numbing fright he shot a man. He'll never be the same. You got another guy weighing about 180 grains more than he did a few minutes earlier. And that's an incident? Heaven help us if something really bad happens.

11:49 PM, November 26, 2007  
Blogger fev said...

Yep. "Eight Die In Fiery Mishap" all over again.

Imagine the fun if more cop news was featurized.

12:26 PM, November 27, 2007  

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