Friday, October 4, 2013

Fog of war

It's easy to be confused during traumatic events.

During the shooting at the Naval Yard, there were conflicting reports as to whether there was one, two, or even three shooters. Even after killing the shooter an hour after the rampage that began at 8:30 am, authorities weren't sure if there was a second shooter. Consequently, people who were in hiding did not leave until almost midnight.

Yesterday, media reports and eyewitness testimony of shootout at the US Capitol seem to conflict that it leaves some doubt as to what really happened.

Here is one report:

The driver of the black Infiniti had a toddler with her, confounding everyone who watched the car crash through barriers and lead police through the heart of high-security Washington.

Here is another:
“Whoa! Whoa!,” Secret Service officers were shouting at the car, according to a witness, Shawn Joseph, 29. “It looked liked [the driver was] scared or lost. I thought they might have been a tourist.”

But then, witnesses said, officers tried to place a barrier in front of the car. The driver swerved. The officers moved the barrier. She hit it, and a Secret Service officer was thrown up on the hood and then off the car.
In one the driver crashed through it, in another she merely hit it. Of course I described this as a shootout in the preceding paragraph which of course it wasn't.

This is definitely a mystery: why would a seemingly normal person behave the way they did? Did the authorities overreact by shooting here? At least one was close enough to see that it was a woman and possibly with a child in the car. Could it no have been interpreted as a hostage situation? It's hard to know in the fog of war.

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