How many people do you know who seem to only read the headlines of stories?
We see it on social media all the time. People share stories based on the headline because it seems to confirm their biases. Make no mistake, though. Those of us in the industry know this behavior exists. We play off of it for a reason. Want to know why clickbait is such a thing? Because people will often read headlines and not click it, thinking they have enough of the story.
On the other hand, it may be played up by activist-reporters and their editors as well, like in the Indy Star.
The story is titled, “She was killed during an apparent road-rage shooting. But Indiana law protects the shooter.” It’s a headline that’s bound to inflame readers and get a lot of shares by anti-gun readers who never bother to click the link while still creating a lot of clicks. It’s an interesting trick, to be sure.
However, when you get to the meat of the story, something very different appears. It seems this woman wasn’t killed by an enraged driver at all.
Brock’s daughter, Brandy, 31, was a passenger in a car when she was shot and killed during an apparent road-rage encounter on the east side in September. Both drivers allegedly fired guns, according to court documents, but the person who fired the first shot, not the fatal round, is the one facing criminal charges.
Andrew Holder, 47, is expected to stand trial in the spring, his attorney told IndyStar.
Days after the shooting, Marion County prosecutors told IndyStar that the driver who killed Brandy Brock during the incident won’t face any charges because it was self-defense. Authorities believe the driver fired after Holder, who was driving the car Brock was in, shot at him, which would mean he’s protected under Indiana law, prosecutors said.
Holder was charged with criminal recklessness and carrying a handgun without a license. But whether Holder is convicted, acquitted or pleads out, the case’s conclusion likely won’t amount to justice for Melissa Brock because no one was charged with her daughter’s death.
In other words, the person she was riding with pulled a gun on another man and she was shot by accident.
Brock may not like it, but the truth is that if anyone is responsible for her daughter’s death, it’s allegedly Holder. (He apparently hasn’t been tried yet.) After all, he attacked a man who responded. Her daughter was killed because of Holder’s alleged actions.
I get that she’s upset, and I think Holder should have been charged with that death. If the law doesn’t permit that then the law needs to change.
But the headline and the reporting are interestingly biased. For one thing, the discussion of what transpired is a bit down in the story. Many people who do read the stories only read the first few paragraphs. They won’t get to a discussion of what transpired.
Then there is the blatantly biased headline that paints the picture of an enraged driver gunning down Brock’s daughter, then walking away without any charges.
The evidence in the district attorney’s hands shows no such thing.
Then again, this is a Stand Your Ground hit piece, so what do you expect? Honest reporting sure as hell ain’t on the agenda, that’s for sure.