Land sakes, but I had to keep checking the source of this overwrought, badly written story about the Columbus sniper. I thought the Washington Post had better editors than the ones who let this stinkeroonie into the paper:
ETNA, Ohio — The farmland in this part of central Ohio is as flat as an open palm. The economy has been depressed for years, but that hardly dents the persistent optimism of local farmers. Maybe the corn will grow higher this year. Maybe the tomatoes will be redder.
But this year there is a spookiness and chill cascading across the land. A brazen gunman has been roaming the rural roads and circling the interstate. For weeks the shooter was a ghostly figure, leaving behind only bullet holes. Then, Nov. 25, came the death of Gail Knisley, a 62-year-old woman who had been out for a doctor’s appointment, who planned to do some holiday shopping, a quintessential small-town soul, who appreciated when friends would drive her places.
That, right there, is parachute journalism at its worst: The phony-baloney scene-setting that lets readers know we’re in the capital-H Heartland, the boolsheet assertion of authority — I’ve never, I mean never in my life, heard a farmer hope for “redder tomatoes” next year — followed by the obligatory Ominous Chords of “spookiness” and “chill” which “cascades” across the land. And then the Victim, who can not be merely a small-town soul but a quintessential one.
Paragraph three: He was standing on an overpass, with a handgun, like a figure frozen in a movie poster for a western. Eyewitnesses found his calmness to be eerie.
Oh, really? “Officer, he was standing calmly. It was…an eerie sort of calm.” And while I’ve seen approximately a zillion movie posters featuring gun-brandishing figures, I’ve never seen one for a western that featured an overpass. But that’s just me.
And that’s only the first three paragraphs! It goes on for five pages!
I’d say “enjoy,” but, you know.