Friday, November 24, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Battle of semantics and translations over Bradley Will murder investigation

There has been an interesting, but not too meaningful development in the murder investigation of the American reporter, Bradley Will. In a communique issued by the Oaxaca State Attorney General, she denied that anyone in her office or connected with the investigation used the term "quemarropa". Quemarropa means "point blank". It also means a line drive in baseball or a hard, flat throw in that same sport -- "on a rope" is how we would put it.

And she may well be right. What the autopsy report states is that Will was shot twice from a distance of 1 to 3 meters (1 to 3 yards) and that the second bullet was fired into him 15-20 minutes after the first one and while he was still alive.

What we have here is a battle of semantics. A distance of 3 feet would be considered by most gun-totin' fascist NRA types (like, uh, yours truly) to be "point blank". It's pretty tough to miss a target any bigger than, say, a grapefruit, at a distance of 3 feet. Any distance closer would put the shooter in danger of injury from flying pieces of the shootee. I would doubt that the shooter(s) of Bradley Will were equipped with and wearing OSHA approved safety goggles.

So, if an English speaking reporter heard "1-3 metros", decided that was "point blank" and so wrote, and someone checked a dictionary and came up with "quemarropa", we have successfully settled this confusing non-issue.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Lizbeth Caña repeated her wish to turn the whole mess over to the federal Attorney General, the PGR.

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