Feathered Bastard

Stop the insanity! Anger over the ABC 15/Channel 3 'copter-crash jumps the shark.

Hey Susan, can I get a witness?

Where's Susan Powter when you need her? I've mostly held my tongue during the mourning over the four guys who perished in that tragic helicopter accident last week, out of respect for those who died and their families. However, it has occurred to me that people die in car crashes all the time and never receive this sort of outpouring of emotion. Ask yourself, would this story have received a fraction of the attention if these four men had been flying in Army helicopters over Baghdad? Likely not.

Now I read in the daily rag that people are petitioning for a memorial in Steele Indian School Park, and that Maricopa County Attorney Candy Thomas is considering hanging a homicide rap on the schmuck who was running from the cops. What, did Christopher Jones will the helicopters out of the sky with his super telekinetic powers? People have been suggesting Jones is responsible since the day of the crash, and it's, well, stupid. So, what if the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation concludes that there was some pilot error involved? Or that it was, plain and simple, an accident? Do you still want to light up your torches and lynch the dood?

Just yesterday, I was discussing this with a colleague, who doubted Candy would try to charge the guy with manslaughter or whatever, because that would be patently absurd. I told him I expected Candy to do exactly that. For the MCAO, it's a no-brainer. Sure it's lame. But Candy gets to pander to the mob and the media, and this Jones fella will be lucky to have more than a public defender as a mouthpiece. Even if Thomas' showboating fails to stand up in court, he still benefits from the emotional response of the community.

I don't often find myself in agreement with KTAR's Larry Gaydos of "Gaydos After Dark," but I was listening to him the night of the accident as average Joes called in demanding that there be justice done for the helicopter pilots and cameramen, by charging Jones with murder. Gaydos' response was that though he thinks this Jones cat is scum, going after him for homicide didn't make any sense. A week later, it still doesn't make any sense. Indeed, it's absolutely ludicrous, and borders on asinine. Which is why I totally expect Thomas to go through with it.

Other than Gaydos and yours truly, there's also some media dood named Mike McIntyre up in Winnipeg, Canada who's on the same page. So that makes at least three sane people in the world. Two in Phoenix.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons