In a suicide, someone kills himself. In a murder, someone kills another person. In the case of a murder-suicide, the killer ends the life of at least one person, then takes his own.
I know, there’s nothing earth-shattering in this bit of news.
But in Raleigh, according to a headline from one affiliate, a victim has gone missing:
Murder-suicide leaves one dead.
It’s impossible for a murder-suicide to leave less than two people dead.
The details of the story indicate that a man reportedly shot a woman then turned the gun on himself. He is dead; she is not. They could have said, “Double shooting leaves one dead,” which would have been accurate. But the murder isn’t a murder.
I actually called the newsroom, and after waiting through at least twenty rings, a female finally answered. I told her that I was calling about a story on the station’s website:
ME: There’s a story under local and state news with the headline, “Murder-suicide leaves one person dead.”
ME: Well, you know that’s not physically possible, right? If it’s a murder-suicide, that means there has to be at least two people dead.
HER: Oh. Okay, well I will let the web department know about that. Thanks for calling.
Within minutes, the headline was adjusted to read, “Attempted murder-suicide leaves one dead.”
Accurate, at least.