The Internet has found the Boston bombing’s Umbrella Man, and his name is Roof Man, or at least that’s what we’ll call him for the remainder of this post. Roof Man, true to his name, was photographed standing on a roof above one of the explosions yesterday, and this apparently qualifies him as a suspicious character even though watching a large spectator event from a roof is a pretty reasonable and common thing to do. Major news organizations are reporting on the “mysterious” Roof Man, but no media outlet is trying to make Roof Man happen harder than the tabloidiest of all of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids, the Sun. The amount of sensationalist conjecture that it manages to fit into a mere few sentences about Roof Man, is, frankly, breathtaking.
Let’s start with the first sentence:
THIS chilling image shows a mystery figure lurking on a rooftop – as a bomb blast rips through the Boston Marathon finishing line below.
There’s nothing chilling about a person standing on a roof. And he’s not lurking. He’s standing completely upright next to an area with patio furniture.
The person does not seem to react as the ground-floor of the building erupts into flames following the second explosion.
It’s a photograph. How could you possibly tell whether or not he reacted to the explosion? If anything, it actually looks like Roof Man is walking in the direction of the explosion, which would be the exact opposite of not reacting.
It was not immediately clear whether the figure on the roof had anything to do with the terror attack.
We just don’t know. He could have had something to do with the attack. It’s not immediately clear. You could literally say this about anyone in the world. “It was not immediately clear whether Shaquille O’Neal had anything to do with the terror attack.”
But some claim it raises the unnerving possibility that a perpetrator watched on as the street-level carnage was unleashed.
“Some” in this sentence could be referring to anyone — the FBI? The Boston Police Department? But “some” actually refers to weirdos on Twitter and, essentially, the Sun.