I have no desire to sound completely insensitive to the tragedy involved here, so let’s just dispel that notion from the start. I may be thoughtless and insensitive, as some would happily suggest, but I do sometimes have my limitations. So when I read this headline a couple of weeks ago – a little nugget I’d found a link to through Facebook – I did so with great horror, not for the tragedy, but for the worst abuse of English I’ve seen in a while:
14-Year-Old Boy From Detroit Shoots His Mother Dead 10 Times As She Slept After She Tried To Keep Him Away From A Gang!
How does someone who writes at such an infantile level as this even have a job in any form of media? It ranks along side the
Indiana baby found in field after tornado dies
headline splashed in all its clumsy glory across the front page of a local paper after a recent spate of violent storms and high winds. And, again, not mocking the tragedy – only the abysmal misuse of language to describe it.
But let’s break down the initial headline, shall we?
Apparently a 14-year-old boy from Detroit wanted to join a gang. His mother wisely told him ‘no.’ Then, a hard day’s parenting finished, the mother decided to take a nap. As she rested, her son took out a gun (presumably found lying round the house), and shot and killed her. The mother came back to life, possibly with the intent of scolding the boy for either shooting her dead or for having disrupted her nap, whereupon he shot and killed her again. This scenario played out a further 8 times until the woman finally succumbed. Or she finally took a headshot which, as anyone knows, is the only true way to kill a zombie.
Perhaps a more appropriate headline ought to have been
Detroit woman identified as Patient Zero in zombie apocalypse.