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#33366 06/23/01 01:02 PM
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On NPR yesterday, I heard a commentary on the 1969 York Pennsylvania riots. The reporter stood on a street corner and said something to this effect: It was on this street corner that Henry Schaad was murdered on a Thursday afternoon in July 1969.

About two minutes later in the commentary, it became apparent that Officer Schaad had been shot on that street corner, but that he actually died in the hospital two weeks later from complications stemming from the gunshot wound.

I felt a little betrayed by the "he was murdered on this spot" line. To be murdered on a street corner, do you have to die on that street corner?


#33367 06/23/01 01:16 PM
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<<To be murdered on a street corner, do you have to die on that street corner?>>

It certainly helps in drama--and you save the cab fare, always a plus.

Ordinarilly, I suppose, this would be reported "X was shot at corner and was pronounced dead at hospital two hours later." It remains, though, that X was murdered, and he was not murdered in the hospital. That it was reported "murdered" and not "shot and pronounced dead" seems to me appropriate in an historical piece.

That you would feel cheated one way or another deserves consideration :)


#33368 06/23/01 07:11 PM
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It was on this street corner that Henry Schaad was murdered on a Thursday afternoon in July 1969.
Sloppy reporting.

later in the commentary, it became apparent that Officer Schaad had been shot on that street corner, but that he actually died in the hospital two weeks later

Ah, so time-on-air was not the constraint.

The officer was shot there and later died of his wounds.Then, the reporter should have mentioned if anyone was ever arrested and convicted of the murder. IF it had any bearing on the main story. If not why mention it and mention it so disjointedly?
Tsk Tsk Old curmudgeon goes off muttering "...in my day..."


#33369 06/24/01 12:51 AM
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For what it's worth: in the legal context, a delay between the act causing death and the death does not negate the act as "murder."

Warning: boring legal synopsis follows. For example, in People v Harding, 443 Mich 693 (1993), the defendants robbed the victim and shot him in the heart and abdomen. The victim initially survived the attack, and the defendants were convicted of armed robbery, assault with intent to commit murder, and felony firearm. More than four years after the crimes, the victim died as a result of the gunshot wounds -- while playing basketball, as I recall. There is no statute of limitations or repose for murder. The prosecutor must prove proximate cause for the victim's death, but is not precluded by the mere passage of time from charging a defendant for murder for a death which occurred some time after the defendant's actions which caused the death. The defendants were then convicted of felony murder and felony firearm.



#33370 06/24/01 02:34 AM
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Since a murder seems to be constituted by the sum-total of events that transpire from the time the act-of-crime is committed to the time of actual death, "I'm standing at the scene of his murder" in such a circumstance would seem to me to be more precise and appropriate. Actually, this phrase does seem to be used in such a circumstance more often than not. Perhaps the reporter in question was being a bit overzealous for the melodramatic?


#33371 06/24/01 01:42 PM
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Thanks for that legal context, Sparteye. I recall reading several articles by a William O'Barr, who wrote about the effects of various types of language on jurors (over-polite, hyper-correct, aggressive, etc.). He declared law to be a profession of words and lawyers students of language.

In the American legal system, more often than not, if a jury declares something murder (or a monopoly, or fraud, or a copyright infringement, etc.), then they've effectively extended the context of the word to include that act (regardless of what the OED says). Not much can overturn that declaration.

However, I don't dispute the act of murder. Just where it may have occurred. Whitman O'Neill's analysis that it was part of the scene is interesting.


#33372 06/24/01 02:30 PM
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Sparteye: your "boring legal synopsis" is anything but ... Thank you.
WhitON : your observation "I'm standing at the scene of his murder" in such a circumstance would seem to me to be more precise and appropriate" is right on.
I have reservations with the scattered way the story was done .. as the listeners would have been better served if the fact and the details were presented as a whole rather than separated as they were ... "two minutes later."


#33373 06/24/01 03:06 PM
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<<"I'm standing at the scene of his murder">>

I agree that this may be a more felicitous turn of phrase, but what makes it more precise and not merely equivalent?


#33374 06/24/01 05:46 PM
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Equivalent - of things and people - equal in power or excellence (OED)

Two hallmarks of good reporting are conciseness and clarity. The story as presented in first post was neither.

Conciseness = (OED) brief and comprehensive.


#33375 06/24/01 08:07 PM
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<<Equivalent - of things and people - equal in power or excellence (OED)>>

Point taken. Question, if you care to continue: Though not of equal power or excellence, not having equivalent meanings? (That your prefered formulation is the better is not disputed, only the use of "equivalent" is questioned.)


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