This is a bit of a late pass, but Mediaite's Tommy Christopher has flagged one of the most gobsmackingly bizarre examples of a story that mixes a bland public-policy obsession with sky-high sensationalized current events in an effort to bring attention to a writer's particular pet cause.
In this case, let's consider Richard Diamond. Diamond is a senior editor at the Washington Times who, as Christopher reports, runs a sideline blog called "TheNewspaper.com," which is "a journal covering motoring issues around the world from a political perspective." So far, so good. One recurring topic for Diamond's "motoring" blog is "the injustices of traffic cameras." Yep, people don't like those things.
Something else people don't like? Mass-murderers. And here's how the two come together. As Christopher relates, "Diamond found an unusual way to draw attention to his cause, posting [a] traffic cam video of Aurora mass shooter James Holmes running a red light ten days before the shooting, and pointing out that the traffic light Holmes ran only had a 2.9 second yellow light, one-tenth of a second less than the time recommended by Federal Highway Administration."
Say what now? Well, it seems that ten days before Holmes embarked on his horrific killing spree at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater, he ran a red light in his Hyundai Tiburon. According to Diamond's blog, "Holmes was in custody before the ticket was mailed, and it is not known whether he ever saw the tell-tale flash in his rear-view mirror."
Yes, one might imagine that "it is not known whether he ever saw the tell-tale flash in his rear view mirror" because no one thought that was a particularly relevant question, under the circumstances. But this is me just guessing. I'm not going to actually call up the prosecutors working this case to ask them about it, because of this thing I have called "perspective."
The upshot, though, is ten days before Holmes committed these murders, a red-light camera failed to give him the extra tenth-of-a-second accommodation he was entitled to, in the considered opinion of the policymakers who wrote the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices -- all of which Holmes would have found out for himself if he hadn't gone on a murderous rampage and instead been home to receive his ticket in the mail.
The banality of evil, I guess.
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Washington Times Editor Posts Traffic Cam Video Of Aurora Shooter James Holmes On His Traffic Blog [Mediaite]
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