A tale of two mobs

Bravo to CodeBlueBlog for asking a question that's somehow slipped everyone's mind:

How, exactly, did Victoria Snelgrove die?

This 21-year old fan took to the streets with thousands of others after the Red Sox beat the Yankees in Game 7 early Thursday morning. The police were called in, armed with new weapons purchased (but not used) for crowd control at the Democratic National Convention. Some poorly trained officers sprayed pepper-bullets into the mob. Snelgrove was struck in the eye and died hours later.

CodeBlueBlog is right to criticize the media's coverage of this sad event. At this point, no one in the press actually digging up facts anymore. The ratio of commentary to real news is so out of whack, you have to wade through hundreds of "me too" articles on Google News just to find out the smallest wrinkle in the story. The press has become just as unruly and misguided as the drunken revelers they're criticizing. The key questions -- mechanism of death, coroner's report, past medical history -- are not even being asked, as far as I can tell.

So, props to Code Blue for raising these questions. He performed an armchair literature survey of similar accidents -- above and beyond anything unearthed in the mainstream media. His findings? Among the hundreds of cases of paintball-to-eyeball injuries recorded, none resulted in death. Something's fishy here, and the truth may illuminate some of the polarized policy discussion now underway (Bostonians are being asked to either reinstate Prohibition or submit to the stormtroopers).

It's interesting though, that CodeBlue thinks the media's rush to commentary has led to an anti-police bias. I think the Boston press has been unconscionably pro-police, at a time when even the cops are admitting a major error. Either way, this debate needs more data, and journalists are failing us.

It's a sad coincidence that Snelgrove herself was a journalism student. I like to think she still has a story to tell -- if only her peers were asking the right questions.