A man’s life, in 10 judgemental words

I was looking for videos of deaths on escalators (don’t ask, I’m a very strange person!) and I came across this news report by Heather Graf of King 5 news of Seattle. Note: the video does show a man dying, but it is blurry and not graphic.

The thing that struck me about the reporting was the final words of the narration in which Ms Graf said that the victim died “with a half empty bottle of brandy in his pocket”. Why did she feel the need to mention that specific piece of information? It implies that the victim was an alcoholic.

Does this information help the viewer in any way? If the influence of alcohol is what caused him to fall, then that would be useful information as it would remind people of the dangers of using an escalator while drunk. She doesn’t say that though. From her report, we don’t know if his implied  alcoholism is a factor. I can only jump to the wild conclusion that Ms Graf trying to make viewers feel better about the tragedy by saying that even though there was a horrible accident, it happened to a drunk bum so there is no need to get too upset.

If you really must summarise a person’s whole life in one sentence, try not to make it a value judgement.

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