The article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch begins with a litany of unbulleted things it must want its readers to see as equivalent:
A stolen SUV.
Five unsupervised kids inside.
Police in pursuit.
An innocent in the way.
Did you spot how they are different? The Post-Dispatch wants you to know how they are the same. That’s why you bullet point things like that. To show their similarity. And here’s how the Post-Dispatch thinks there the same:
The elements of St. Louis’ ever-unfolding tragedy came together once again in a fierce collision on Kingshighway early Friday.
See? They’re all elements in the ever-unfolding tragedy that is the city of St. Louis. Want to know what happened?
Killed was Gary “Chip” Alter, 24, a recent St. Louis University graduate, a world traveler and a “handsome devil” with unlimited potential, in his mother’s words.
Alter was driving north on Kingshighway from a friend’s home in the Hill neighborhood. He took a left to go west on Interstate 44 and home to Manchester.
About 3:30 a.m., a Dodge Durango was 90 mph northbound in Kingshighway’s southbound lanes. It broadsided Alter.
“My son’s life was taken much too soon,” a broken Joan Alter said later.
Schnuck it, the Post-Dispatch isn’t going to tell you; the whole article is an exercise in passive-voice journalism, where unfortunate things occur. This pyramid structure has all of the important facts at the bottom of the article, building a sleepy storyline that casts no blame except to the abstract iniquity. Here’s what happened:
Five kids, between the ages 12 and 16, stole a Dodge Durango in the afternoon and spent the night breaking into cars while leaving the Durango running; when someone called the cops at 3:30 am, the St. Louis Tin pursued until a cop supervisor told them to back off. After the pursuit ended, the Durango, still fleeing, broadsided another car and killed its driver.
Cripes, if only the driver had been drinking, he’d have a future with the Rams when he got out of juvenile camp and if he finished high school.
Of the four things mentioned in the first lines of the article, one is responsible for the tragedy, but the Post-Dispatch really wants to blur that distinction and reduce all to just equally-weighted “elements,” probably because the actual responsible line item isn’t the SUV, the police, or the innocent. It’s the known juvenile delinquents.