Note on the Alleged Attack on McCain Supporter

I'm starting to get emails about the reports that a 20-year-old woman was mugged at an ATM in Pittsburgh and then marked with a "B" by her attacker after he spotted a McCain bumpersticker on her car.

At this point, I'm hesitant to say anything substantive about the case until I learn more information for a couple of reasons, none of which have anything to do with her being a McCain supporter. And I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring it for that reason.

Briefly, the main thing is that the B on her face is neat and superficial and backwards. That does not mean it wasn't done to her; a B could appear backwards if done by someone hovering above her, facing the opposite direction, for example. And she may have briefly passed out without realizing it, providing an opportunity to her attacker to mark her cleanly while she was not struggling.

But backwards letters, and easily legible letters, and letters formed by superficial wounds of a consistent depth, are all associated with self-mutilation as part of staged attacks. Carving messages into the body during an attack is also an extremely rare event, outside of pop culture. Again, that doesn't mean that written messages being left on a victim never happens, just that it is very infrequent.

Additionally, there is now a report that the woman's "statements about the attack conflict with evidence from the Citizens Bank ATM where she claims the incident occurred," according to police. That, however, is not terribly unusual for the victim of a violent attack.

All told, I just feel like there's reason to be cautious with this story, and so I am going to thus be.

No matter how this happened, or who did it, I hope this young woman heals quickly.

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