Monday, November 9, 2009

Alleged Shooter

The shooting at Fort Hood is a horrifying story. Not only is it terrible that American soldiers, already skittish about having to go into a war zone, have to deal with some nutjob going berserk at home. It's also unfortunate that the nutjob happened to be Muslim, because now there's sure to be a backlash toward all Muslims, based on this one very troubled individual's action.

But those are all delicate issues that I don't want to get into here. Being a language guy, the thing that I keep noticing is the phrase the media is using to describe the shooter.

They keep referring to him as the "alleged shooter," as if the jury is still out on his guilt. As if he didn't mow down dozens of people in broad daylight in front of hundreds of witnesses, stopped only when the police shot him down. I know it's a legal technicality-- you have to add the word "alleged" to any suspect in a crime case. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I get that.

But in this case it just sounds kind of silly. To me it's like saying the "alleged plane" crashed into the Alps. Or the "alleged hurricane" hit Miami beach. The "alleged fireman" saved the kitten from the tree.

Is there any doubt, legal or otherwise, who did this?

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