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Unmarried Ethnic Woman Dies in Incident of Pedestrian Pique

Yeah, offensive, unnecessary, stupid........keep going.......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, July 06, 2005.

I have lots of hatreds that burn pure and white hot and haven’t, I now realize, faded with age. One of them is the continued, unthinking usage of news templates by the media to make its job easier and to channel our thinking. The incident I describe comes from Denver’s Channel Nine website, which generally conforms to their broadcast copy. It’s short, three hundred words, and I’m going to do this paragraph by paragraph.

The title is Woman Dies from Road Rage Crash Injuries.

“A woman who was thrown from a truck during a suspected road rage accident Tuesday has died from her injuries, according to her aunt.” I’m sorry to hear that, and we have, right off, the specter of ‘road rage.’ Road Rage is an idiotic term that decades ago was used to describe conflicts - including gunfights - between drivers stuck in traffic in California. It was promoted by psychologists who, under the guise of being coldly objective, were in reality creating a syndrome and offering to treat it under, alas, circumstances that would require remuneration, perhaps by insurance? Heroes, they were.

Second graph. “Alicia Arana, 26, was riding in a pick-up truck with her common-law husband and their three children. Arana and two of the children were thrown from the pick-up during the accident.” I call attention to the term ‘common-law husband.’ First, does Channel 9 realize there are no degrees to marriage? That a common law marriage is as legal and binding as one performed by the Archangel Michael? That being the case, why is it relevant that this be announced? They were married. 'How' doesn't vary the legality of this irrelevancy.

The third graph concerns the medical conditions of the three children, two of whom have fractured skulls. Fourth graph: “Arana's common-law husband Jesus Manuel Cruz was driving the pick-up at the time of the crash.” Again with the common law description so soon after the previous one. Fifth paragraph. “A family member told 9News that Manuel Cruz admits he was drinking at a July 4th celebration before the accident. Cruz suffered a gash and a shoulder injury in the crash. The family member says there weren't any seat belts in the pickup truck.” Okay. Mr. Cruz should not have been driving.

Apparently, this all began at 12:43 a.m. last Tuesday. 9News continues: “Police say the pick-up driven by Cruz rear ended a silver Dodge Intrepid on Federal Boulevard at Morrison Road in Denver. Police say the pick-up didn't stop and continued north on Federal.” Mr. Cruz is now guilty of hit and run as well as drunk driving. However, we don’t know, or 9News isn’t saying, if Mr. Cruz hit a stopped car or a car still moving. And how do police know this happened? Were witnesses following these people?

Seventh paragraph: “The Intrepid driver followed the pick-up and caught it at Sheridan Boulevard and Cedar Street. Police say the car pulled next to the pick-up before the two vehicles collided.” Eighth paragraph: “The collision caused both vehicles to spin out of control. The pick-up veered into oncoming traffic and crashed into a large SUV. Arana and two children were ejected from the pick-up, police say. The Intrepid driver drove away from the scene.”

So. We don’t know, at least from this story, how the vehicles collided. Was Mr. Cruz drunk and wandered over the line? Was the Intrepid driver, which we’re apparently to believe was the one consumed with Road Rage, guilty of murder by deliberately hitting the pickup? We’re left to infer.

In the final graphs, “Arana was taken to St. Anthony's hospital where she later died. A family member told 9NEWS that Arana's organs will be donated.” And “Police are still looking for the Dodge Intrepid involved in the crash.” I'd hope.

And what of the people in the SUV. Were they hurt? Not mentioned in a previous coverage either. Well, it is, after all, television news and they have limited time.

Yet, look what they had time to do. They mention Road Rage as the cause of death. But Road Rage was given its title to describe irrational violence devoted to no constructive point due to the frustrations of being stuck in traffic jams for hours. That isn't applicable. This could be easily a story about an innocent attacked by a drunk driver who pursued to confront and wait for cops, and the truck, trying to get away, hit the Intrepid and he and his family paid for it. I don't see the Road Rage angle, ever, but certainly not here.

And I don't see the point of the two common law marriage mentions. Clearly intended to channel feelings about the accused, but is this from a church based news source that views common law as an inferior state of marriage for inferior people? That if married in a church, this wouldn't have happened?

Annoying, to say no more.