September 1, 2002
3:15 AM   Subscribe

This has disturbed me for a day now, and I feel compelled to post it here. There was an article on the front page of Kuro5hin (I know, but please bear with me) on revenge, titled "The Big Payback."

As I was reading through the comments section, there were some really funny , devious, and cruel tales of revenge. But this one continues to disturb me. I believe that this may very well be a confession to second degree murder. Some apparently agree with me, and has even gone so far as to have found a name and an address. What could be, or even should be done about something like this?
posted by aznblader (62 comments total)

 
I'm not sure about the attitudes towards a K5 cross link, so I was very hesitant to post this. I apologize if this wasn't appropriate, but I simply cannot get my mind off of this.
posted by aznblader at 3:17 AM on September 1, 2002


Just sounds like some nerd's wet dream. Really now, I don't think anyone is dumb enough to post a legit confession on a website, let alone a publicized one like Kuro5hin.

I could make some crass remarks right now but... I'll let it go....
posted by Aikido at 3:21 AM on September 1, 2002


Well, actually, it's been done before. There's at least a one or two other cases besides that one that I remember of where an internet confession led directly to an arrest, but I can't recall where at the moment.
posted by aznblader at 3:24 AM on September 1, 2002


This is probably just some poor kid who (sort of) wishes he had done what he posted about.

If it isn't, he's well on his way to having to answer for it.

Like you, I'd be very disturbed about it, if I thought it was genuine. It's just a little too bravado-y.

Now taking sidebets about how long before this morphs into an urban legend (if it isn't, in fact, already one).
posted by KiloHeavy at 3:31 AM on September 1, 2002


Psst, aznblader: Why not link to the full story?

I realize this is kind of offtopic, but is there some kind of anti-K5 movement I haven't heard of? Why all the apology?
posted by rusty at 3:35 AM on September 1, 2002


You might be surprised at how easily some people will stupidly confess to things. We have a "zero tolerance" policy on drug use at our school. If a teacher learns that a student is doing drugs inside or outside of school, we are required to report it immediately.

For example, several years ago I required my students to write a paper on "an important turning point in their life." One of my students handed in a paper titled "The First Time I Baked," which basically detailed the first time he smoked weed and how he had been smoking it every day since then. That one went straight to the principal...
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:36 AM on September 1, 2002


Rusty: Yeah, I thought of that as I was reading the post, and I thought an href right where I typed the title would have been perfect, but it was too late. Thanks for the post.

Well I kind of got the impression there was some kind of rivalry between mefi and k5, but apparently I was mistaken. =)
posted by aznblader at 3:51 AM on September 1, 2002


aznblader: What you see as rivalry is actually love disguised as bickering, like When Harry Met Sally. ;-)
posted by rusty at 3:53 AM on September 1, 2002


If people are so idiotic to murder, then it wouldn't be surprising for them to confess it on the internet. I'd find him and call the police. This is probably a very real confession. This person is VERY evil and shouldn't be walking the streets.
posted by Sonserae at 5:05 AM on September 1, 2002


What's more alarming than the post itself, is the great many replies from people who thought his action was justified and appropriate. Should this prove to be a true confession, I certainly hope he arrested and brought to justice.

Regarding K5: The only reason links are "frowned upon" is because a number of MeFi folks also read K5. There's a certain assumed redundancy, you know?
posted by aladfar at 6:40 AM on September 1, 2002


this is off topic but... Joey, were you the teacher in this drug scenario you mention? if so, it sounds like what you're saying is some kid trusted you with honesty in his writing and you punished him for it. now, i understand that the school had a policy about drugs but it's not as if the kid murdered someone.

i "confessed" to many things in my writing to my english teachers throughout high school. some of them illegal (shoplifting, drinking alcohol, etc.). my teachers never turned me in and as a result, i continue to write about events in my past and their significance to my present and future. had one of my teachers turned me in, i probably would have stopped writing and most certainly such a gesture would have tainted my view of teachers. i can't believe you're actually proud of betraying someone's trust. eesh.
posted by dobbs at 6:51 AM on September 1, 2002


However, often a student uses a paper as a "cry for help." Teachers have to walk a fine line between the needs of the student and of the community. Mr. Michaels’ students understood they were in a "zero-tolerance school" and should edit their papers with that in mind. (I hate “zero tolerance schools” but that’s another post.)

After working with addicts and alcoholics I firmly believe that many confess in anonymous groups to relieve their guilt. They expect someone to tell the authorities. I agree that anyone who does confess to a capital crime should be investigated. Whether they do it while drunk at a bar, at an AA meeting, or on the Internet. To not “snitch” is jail mentality and protecting murderers has no business in a free society.
posted by ?! at 7:21 AM on September 1, 2002


Whether it's real or not, I think it's horrible. Either way, the man in question should be investigated. If he really did do such a thing, he should be punished to the full extent of the law. This sort of revenge is not only wrong, it's evil.
posted by ashbury at 7:51 AM on September 1, 2002


...i "confessed" to many things in my writing...

...However, often a student uses a paper as a "cry for help."...

I, on the other hand, always at a loss for good subjects, created almost-believable but fictional scenarios about stealing guns, holding up stores, etc. that resulted with my parents and teachers in conference.
posted by goethean at 7:59 AM on September 1, 2002


From actually reading the post in question, the police knew of the situation immediately afterward.
posted by mischief at 8:20 AM on September 1, 2002


Whois yiffle.com

Would this guy be dumb enough to post a murder confession when his name and address are in his domain contact info?
posted by Modem Ovary at 8:21 AM on September 1, 2002


You might be surprised at how easily some people will stupidly confess to things.

Including the stupid confession beginning with this sentence.

i can't believe you're actually proud of betraying someone's trust. eesh.

Amen...

Interesting and pertinent is this editorial from the New York Times - The Truth About Confessions.
posted by y2karl at 8:25 AM on September 1, 2002


i can't believe you're actually proud of betraying someone's trust. eesh.

Likewise. I'm curious though: what mark did the student get for the smoking weed paper, Joey? You did give a mark for the work, right? I mean, you wouldn't fail someone because they didn't express a state-sanctioned turning point, would you?
posted by holycola at 9:03 AM on September 1, 2002


Joey-

I don't care how "zero-tolerance" the school was toward drugs, I wouldn't have turned the student in. Maybe because I am more tolerant than that. Maybe because I feel it would have been a betrayal of trust. Maybe both. Honestly, did the student's paper read like a cry for help? From the context you described, it sounds like he found smoking pot to be a positive experience, as have many others. I don't buy all the "pot is an evil drug that will take away your ambition and ruin your life" propagnda. (That would be Playstation...J/K) What has basically happened is that you have started this kid down the path of never trusting authority in anything. Good job.
posted by kayjay at 9:16 AM on September 1, 2002


To get back to the original topics.
I have strong reasons to believe that this is a true confession. The person also gives the answer later what happened to the other child.
The police who was involved with the case at the time had no reason to suspect foul play - they were dealing with children after all and they evidently underestimated their potential for cruelty.

My question now is what are the responsibilities of the owner of the message board in a possibly serious case such as this?
Does anybody have the answer?
Rusty?
I don't know much about the law in Britain. This may not be accepted as legal confession and there is no way you can lawfully prove anything in retrospect - unless the police can find other witnesses who were there at the time or to whom this person also confessed.

The case I am familiar with was this: a cruel, devious but rich, powerful and famous person confessed or rather boasted in his private diaries that he murdered his father (while the father was lying on his hospital bed). Although the diaries were private, he deliberately kept them on his office computer and allowed other people to access them (there was no password protection on his machine and he knew that the machine was routinely backed up on open tapes also along with the contents of several other computers). He also sprinkled the story with quite a high number of four letter words. In addition, he indicated in his writings that he would try something again. The diaries finally reached the police, but as he was extremely famous, the police and higher authorities declined to investigate. Instead, the career of the person who reported the case was quietly ruined.
posted by neu at 9:16 AM on September 1, 2002


Straight out of Lord of the Flies. Another famous case is the Kennedy cousin who was just convicted for killing his 15-year old neighbor based soley on his own boasting years ago.
posted by stbalbach at 9:33 AM on September 1, 2002


Scary. I wouldn't know what to do about this post. After this, I tend to distrust 99% of what is written on the web. But what if it's true? I once heard guy reading a story on the dreadful radio programme "This American Life" about an incident when he was a kid: he and his friends were playing in a field and discovered a man that ha fallen down a well. They couldn't see him, but they could hear him. They talked to him, left, came back, brought food a couple times but, despite his pleas to get help, they never told anyone. They stopped visiting the well, and never went back, ostensibly leaving the man to die. I had never heard of "This American Life" before, so I was horrified, since I didn't know it was fiction. Made me upset for days, until I visited the website, and found out about the show and writer. Still, I harbor a small doubt in my mind: what if it was a true story? What could you do about it? Probably nothing.

Ick. The cruelty of children. Let's hope the post on Kuro5hin was just a piece of misguided fiction.

[and, FYI, MeFi and Kuro5hin are not only not rivals, but actually merged several months ago.]
posted by evanizer at 9:44 AM on September 1, 2002


Actually I was somewhat mistaken earlier.

You don't move somebody when they got hit by a car, and even fifteen year old "children" should know that, so the investigation can easily be reopened. Perhaps with the final result that the police were also at fault in this case.

You simply don't move the person this way. You don't pull him onto the pavement.

So I ask again: Rusty? - are you going to follow this up? Do you think that the Admin has that kind of duty?
posted by neu at 9:47 AM on September 1, 2002


What to do? I suggest reporting this to the Newton Abbot police for a start. They could determine better than any of us if there was anything to the story. At the very least, Mr. Andrews might get to spend an afternoon answering a few questions. And the ones who cheered him on, wow, is anything more pathetic than the sight of geeks channelling Leopold and Loeb?

Didja, didja, think you were God, Brandon?" </Jimmy Stewart
posted by octobersurprise at 9:56 AM on September 1, 2002


What about the person who drove the car that hit the kid? He/she seems to be missing from the story.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 10:48 AM on September 1, 2002


You people aren't seriously suggesting that Matt report anybody who's ever suggested they have been stoned to the DEA, are you?

The story is very disturbing, I agree. But I don't think Rusty has any obligation here, any more than paper makers do to people who write confessions on their paper.

What should be done? Probably nothing. This was likely fiction. You have no idea if the name and address belong to a) the person who wrote the story or b) the person who moved the dying bully. You have no way of identifying the bully. You're still a long way off from identifying the location of the incident (if our writer gave his or her correct address, they may have moved since then). You have no idea when this might have taken place (1950? 2001?). I'm quite certain the examples people cited of internet confessions were in the context of a criminal investigation, not some hearsay on an internet bbs leading to opening a case...

What if this is somebody taking reveng on Yiffle?

What should be done? If you're very concerned about this, do your detective work and call in a 'tip' to the local police dept. I think I know exactly what will happen with it.
posted by daver at 10:51 AM on September 1, 2002


Evan, assuming you mean this show. TAL is hardly dreadful, and 95% of its material is non-fiction; the rest is clearly labeled, though I can see how if you tune in halfway through that may not be clear.

One of the best episodes has some relevance here: Hoaxing Yourself, about people who began to believe falsehoods they told others just enough to screw up their life in some way. If you don't like that one, try one of the other favorites.

I admit I'm not always in the mood for it when it airs. But dreadful? Pshaw.

As for yiffle/Locked, both first reading and now I'm convinced he's playing up a real incident -- exaggerating his own role or something. He seems depressed, and I've said similar self-blame things when I've been in major depressions (though nothing so serious). Still, I'd rather have the police and prosecutor look into it; if nothing else, someone carrying around a burden like this needs serious therapy for his own sake.
posted by dhartung at 11:04 AM on September 1, 2002


Joey...
I have to agree with kayjay on this one... very lame thing to turn in a student when they put their trust in you. Very very lame.
posted by y10k at 11:28 AM on September 1, 2002


I wrote about a murder I was in some way privy to. Since all parties involved are dead I never went to the police when I heard of it. It still bothers me to this day that I know about this. I can definately understand the concern of the original post.

I was approached, on the internet, by a shut-in pervert seeking underage girls to molest. It was very troublesome as I had no way to know what the truth was. After much conflict and frustration I finally hooked this guy up with the FBI. They were quite happy as his interaction with me was what finally gave them enough evidence to arrest the guy. It's always very troublesome when reality smashes into the tales you read on the net.

On the drug issue Joey was placed in a very tight spot by his student. Surely the best course of action would have been to speak to the student and his parents. However doing that or not doing anything would have opened Joey up to losing his job if it was discovered later that the kid was doing this and had confessed in Joey's class. This is one of the crappy things you learn as an adult. Sometimes someone is gonna get screwed by a bs beauracracy. Better to let someone elses stupidity bring them down rather than substitute your own.
posted by filchyboy at 11:30 AM on September 1, 2002


If that accident really took place, the police should be able to follow it up. The poster refers to "computer geeks" and "calculators" - that could give an approximate time frame. There were no calculators in Britain in 1950 as far as I know.
posted by neu at 11:32 AM on September 1, 2002


has anyone questioned the validity of the person's identity?

it wouldn't take much to fake it, and what better place than a forum specifying revenge as the topic? or am i reading too much into it?

otherwise, aznblader, i think you're rightfully concerned. so, seeing as you've found it, an e.mail to the website posted by octobersuprise above is well justified. i'd be curious as to the outcome too...
posted by triv at 11:38 AM on September 1, 2002


Let's all wave our fingers at Joey and derail the thread because we're all better people than he is and wouldn't mind losing our jobs. If you know your school has a zero-tolerance policy on drugs, and you purposely turn in a confession of drug use, you are either:

1) A fucking idiot

2) Crying for help and asking to get caught

As for the Kuro5hin murder, it seems all too fabricated, along the lines of "I once killed a man in Reno just to watch him die." I also find it strange that the poster adds in as an aside after the initial post, "Oh by the way, he died."
posted by Stan Chin at 11:40 AM on September 1, 2002


OT, but I'm surprised at the rush to judge Joey here. Without more details, there's no way of telling if Joey did the "right thing" or not, and while pot's as good a drug as any, it should be noted that a kid getting stoned *every damn day* isn't necessarily on the most wonderful of paths, healthwise or intellect-wise. Teachers, like everyone, get put in situations where their personal beliefs may not always match those of their bosses. You deal with it as best you can. It's certainly possible to explain this situation to the student in a way that keeps at least some trust intact.
posted by mediareport at 11:51 AM on September 1, 2002


I think Joey was in the right as well. He could have very easily lost his job for not disclosing this to his superior. There is no teacher-student confidentiality agreement. Assuming that the student isn't completely brain dead for writing about it, it almost sounds as if he was looking for attention or using this as a cry for help. What else would be his motivations for writing about this?
posted by ttrendel at 11:54 AM on September 1, 2002


Did anyone stop to think that Joey might have just fabricated the story? I mean, sure, it's disturbing, but does anybody have an evidence that this actually happened? (Yes, this is me pulling my own leg. A trick I learned in yoga)
posted by daver at 12:17 PM on September 1, 2002


Dan, I suppose I shouldn't have called "This American Life" dreadful, it's really only the host that grates my ears. Both his voice and his GenX Woody Allen kick. Plus anyone related to Philip Glass deserves eternal disdain. But the show (Subsequent to hearing that well story, I began listening fairly regularly) often has some marvellous pieces, and I'll be eternally greatful for their introduction of the masterful David Sedaris to the world.
posted by evanizer at 12:20 PM on September 1, 2002


"What could be, or even should be done about something like this?
"


I think you are asking the wrong question, here. A better one might be, "If I think this person is confessing to murder, what can I do about it?"

It doesn't matter what people here think - fake, not fake. What matters is what you think. And what kind of a person would you become if you thought it was true and didn't act on it?
posted by kristin at 12:35 PM on September 1, 2002


"It doesn't matter what people here think - fake, not fake. What matters is what you think. And what kind of a person would you become if you thought it was true and didn't act on it?"

Well I'm not sure that if it is in fact true, for one. If it were true, then I'm still not sure what I would do, to be honest. But I think bringing this up to a larger audience is a good first step.
posted by aznblader at 12:58 PM on September 1, 2002


Oh, great. Now *I* have to decide what to do about it. Ok, it's fake. :P
posted by mediareport at 1:10 PM on September 1, 2002


Maybe that's what the original poster wanted also. Something must have bothered him so he wanted to hear the opinion of a larger audience. It's interesting that he found so many cheerleaders.

On a lighter tone then: one of the first stories is about a husband who finds a BMW convertible in his driveway, thinks that it belongs to his wife's lover and pours cement into the car - this urban legend should end with the wife crying: "but honey I just wanted to confirm that your nice new platinum credit card was valid"
posted by neu at 1:15 PM on September 1, 2002


Do what your morals and conscience propel you to do, azn. Unfortunately, both of those things are very ambiguous at times in my neck of the woods, being related to drug dealers and at least one murderer. I really can't help you. Matter of fact, I think I'll go bury my head back in the sand now.

Briefly OT: Joey was so in the right. Not turning that paper in wouldn't have been the sign of a caring teacher preserving trust. It would have been the sign of an adult with the reasoning facilities of a child, who shouldn't be entrusted with the task of being a caretaker for many.

Some trusts need to be betrayed.
posted by precocious at 1:29 PM on September 1, 2002


Yiffle.com stands for 'Your Index For Furry Links Everywhere'. At first glance it doesn't seem a likely site for a sociopath. Unless the owner is someone who really really likes fur.
posted by obedo at 1:55 PM on September 1, 2002


obedo yes and someone who is really proud of being so clever and getting away with it. Just like the famous one I wrote about earlier in this very same thread.
posted by neu at 2:11 PM on September 1, 2002


Pretty good traffic too, according to alexa. Without links.

Site Stats:
Average Traffic Rank: 442,927
Other sites that link to this site: No Data
posted by neu at 2:14 PM on September 1, 2002


I suspect the "confession" is either partly or wholly fabricated. The first half of the story (i.e., the buildup) seems plausible, but the second half reads like a fantasy. Here's why: After the alleged accident, the author claims, "I strode over to his body". Who strides over to a body? You stride over to a person...if you stride at all.
posted by Zulujines at 2:39 PM on September 1, 2002


"Who strides over to a body?"

Some one who is walking towards a dead person?
posted by aznblader at 2:44 PM on September 1, 2002


pssst ... rusty, now that we have the full link. There is another one here, but at least this one was younger at the time:

Bullies, or: Ohm's Revenge (5.00 / 1) (#281)
by John Miles on Sun Sep 1st, 2002 at 01:43:21 AM EST
(ke5fx@qsl.REMOVETHIS.net) http://www.qsl.net/ke5fx


By the time I was a wee lad of perhaps seven or eight, I had already amassed an impressive collection of electronic detritus. Junk TVs, government/military surplus equipment, old car radios... you name it.

One fine Saturday morning, the neighborhood bully entered my garage and demanded a treasured item from my hoard. "Give me an electric motor," the archetypal Moe demanded of me, "or I'll...," followed by a threat I no longer remember, probably because it turned out to be the last of its kind.

In response, I cheerfully unscrewed a 100K, 1-watt carbon potentiometer from a derelict TV, and attached a 110V line cord to it with masking tape. (UL-approved electrical tape was a luxury unafforded by my meager allowance at the time.) I turned the potentiometer's wiper counterclockwise and handed the requested contrivance to the bully. "Plug it in," I instructed him, "and turn the shaft to get it started."

posted by neu at 2:48 PM on September 1, 2002


kuro5hin: attracting loonies like flies to honey since 1999.
posted by precocious at 3:03 PM on September 1, 2002


So, uh...how the heck do you navigate Kuro5hin anyway?
posted by Karl at 4:26 PM on September 1, 2002


this is off topic but... Joey, were you the teacher in this drug scenario you mention? if so, it sounds like what you're saying is some kid trusted you with honesty in his writing and you punished him for it. now, i understand that the school had a policy about drugs but it's not as if the kid murdered someone.

In my defense, we are very closely monitored at my school. It isn't unusual for my supervisor to check over the work that students hand in to me. Had this happened, the kid would have been caught and made to go into drug counseling anyway and I would have been fired.

Furthermore, I tell all of my classes at the beginning of the year that they shouldn't hand in anything that they wouldn't want their parents to discover. Had the kid come up to me after class and said "Mr. Michaels, I have a drug problem," I would have handled it very differently than him handing it in as an official school project.

Finally, it isn't as if the kid was thrown out of school. His parents were notified and he was made to take several months of drug counseling. If this was, indeed, a cry for help, he got the help.

I appreciate your point of view, but I respectfully disagree with it and believe I did the right thing.

To try and turn this back to the topic, it is unwise to confess to something in a public forum where somebody has to take action. If I read a message on a forum from somebody confessing to murder, I would feel morally obligated to respond.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:03 PM on September 1, 2002


Ya know, I have been walking around ALL day doing a really bad Jimmy Stewart impression and saying, "Didja, didja think you were God, Brandon?" Thanks a fucking lot, octobersurprise.
posted by Zulujines at 6:18 PM on September 1, 2002


I killed someone once.

No I didn't.

(Sorry.)
posted by tweebiscuit at 6:58 PM on September 1, 2002


I appreciate your point of view, but I respectfully disagree with it

*applauds*

A civil, measured response to some borderline personal attacks; nice one Joey. (FWIW, I also think you did the best you could in a tough situation.)
posted by sennoma at 10:23 PM on September 1, 2002


Joey's answer is definitely a good one. It's very important to please your supervisor and to concentrate on your own career.
posted by neu at 8:30 AM on September 2, 2002


Upon clarification, I do see your point and position. Joey, and have no complaints or criticisms for you.
posted by y2karl at 9:16 AM on September 2, 2002


It's very important to please your supervisor and to concentrate on your own career.

Jesus, talk about holier than thou. So, neu -- leaving aside that you can't understand why a smart, liberal person might want to be a school teacher -- are we to believe that you think a high school/jr. high school student smoking pot every day is an unequivocal good thing?
posted by mediareport at 5:36 PM on September 2, 2002


media thanks for adressing me properly, but I use Jesus only with friends.

you can't understand why a smart, liberal person might want to be a school teacher

Where did I say this, again?

are we to believe that you think a high school/jr. high school student smoking pot every day is an unequivocal good thing?

You are free to believe what you want to believe. Boasting on a public bulletin board about a possible murder and confiding in a teacher are two different issues by the way.
posted by neu at 6:59 PM on September 2, 2002


Sounds like an urban fairytale to me, except he forgot the 'My friend's cousin's half-brother' bit used to put as much distance between the story-teller and the fictional events portrayed.
posted by crayfish at 3:27 AM on September 3, 2002


Late getting back to the party, sorry.

I don't believe it's true. No, I don't really have any evidence, just a feeling. If anyone thinks it actually happened, you're perfectly free to follow your conscience and try to figure out who to report it to. Good luck.
posted by rusty at 7:46 AM on September 3, 2002


rusty fair enough, thanks.
posted by neu at 8:00 AM on September 3, 2002


It's not our call to decide if this story is poppycock or not. It's up to the proper authorities. And those in possession of further information to tie this individual are obliged to report that information to those authorities. This isn't a case of smoking weed in the girl's room, folks. This is murder.
posted by waldo at 3:55 PM on September 3, 2002


I don't believe it's true. He provides just enough irrelevant details to make it sound real (the day of the week, the month, the name of the school, the first names of the people involved), but it's vague on a number of important points. We're talking about a kid getting hit by a car in front of many witnesses. How likely is it that one kid was able to "fuck up" the victim's neck without anybody noticing? People would be swarming around the scene, pressed in close.

I kept doing this until I was convinced that I had 'accidentally' fucked up his neck.

Are we to think that none of Paul's friends, who were right there playing chicken with him, prevented the put-upon geeky kid from dragging the body away, or at least watched him closely while he was doing it? There were no adults there, not even the driver of the car or other cars that stopped to help, and if there were, they let this geeky high school kid drag the victim off the road, and repreatedly reposition him against a wall? Not only that, but our narrator is charismatic enough to give the crowd orders and have them followed, strong enough to drag the body of the local bully off the street, knowledgable enough to position him in such a way as to purposefully cause injury, clever enough to do it without anyone else noticing, or even suspecting it afterwards (despite the fact that the police would have found out that he moved the body, and talked to him, and so would the paramedics), cool enough under pressure to do all this without planning, right after watching someone he knew get hit by a car...we're saying that this is the same person who helped the teachers set up the school assembly every Thursday, got his shins kicked by bullies regularly, and in general considered himself part of the marginalized geek crowd.

Sure, it's possible, but it seems very unlikely to me. A person who has already developed such a combination of charisma, cold level-headedness, intelligence, general knowledge, and the capacity for cruelty, in high school, is someone to watch out for, and he's much more likely to be student council president than a member of a geek "alliance."

Besides, the story lacks cohesion. What did the "alliance" he described have to do with this incident? Did they help him, did they know, and if not, why did he mention them? I suppose we could say that it was to lend his actions a more compelling moral context. But I don't think so.

He gives just enough details to make us think that it wouldn't be too hard to track down this incident in a newspaper somewhere, and yet, with all the outraged readers on all the boards this story has been posted to, no one seems to have done so successfully.

What kind of school has assemblies every Thursday, anyway? What kind of person knows enough about the human body to know exactly what to do to position someone who has just been hit by a car the wrong way, but even now, years later, would say something like I told them what to do ("keep an eye on him, make sure he doesn't go into shock" - whatever that means)? And if the narrator is so proud of himself, and enjoyed the incident so much, where are the gratuitious details of the injuries: the blood, whether or not Paul was conscious afterwards, whether he rolled over the car or under it or was hurled through the air to land on pavement? I suspect that these details are absent because the narrator doesn't know how to give them in such a way that they are consistent with the story. Why was Paul's neck his main point of injury? He was trying to run in front of a car, and he didn't make it...isn't it much more likely that the point of impact would be his torso or legs? And if your neck is broken by the impact of a speeding car, isn't it pretty likely that you're going to die immediately anyway, if not instantly?

It seems to me that a neck injury in this case would most likely result from the body being thrown and the neck breaking upon landing, or by the person being mowed down by the car, and his neck being crushed by a tire. In either case, how did the narrator know that the way to kill this guy was to position his neck wrong? It seems to me that either the neck injury in particular wouldn't be that obvious to the untrained eye, or that the guy would already be beyond hope.
posted by bingo at 6:06 PM on September 3, 2002


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