48. Have You Seen This Man?


The local TV news showed a video of a man dressed in coveralls, a baseball cap, a long-sleeved shirt, and gloves. He was pointing a gun at the clerk. He reached over the countertop and grabbed money out of the cash register. Then he strolled out of the store. (Since they outnumber Los Angeles police by about 1,000 to 1, criminals don't bother to run anymore.)

The video camera was mounted near the ceiling of the store, so its lens was looking down at the scene. You, as the viewer, could see the clerk clearly, but not the criminal. He was so bundled up that you couldn't see even the tip of his nose. Because there was no audio, you couldn't even be sure if the criminal was a man or a woman!

Yet, the TV news announcer earnestly asked all the viewers, "If you have seen this robber or if you know who he is, please call the LAPD." To be fair to the TV station, they showed the same useless video at least six times in two days. The LAPD got zero phone calls. At other times, the TV news reader will give viewers a much better description: "The suspect is about 5'8", 170 pounds." This description also results in no arrests.

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