When the fingers are faster than the truth

The smarter ones would wait for official reports or news breaks

Pic By TMR File

THE earlier story that was circulated on the net was totally twisted. It all began on Saturday with a video of a man holding another, who seemed to be a little banged up.

The location was somewhere along a highway. So, one could easily deduce that it had something to do with an altercation on the road.

There was an argument it seemed, and from the little that was heard, the man who was holding the almost lifeless figure was trying to tell his side of the story.

Predictably, the rumour mill began to turn and different versions of the incident were told.

Each time the tale was repeated, the flavour would change a bit with details that might have been totally different from the moment the video started circulating.

Less than 24 hours after the incident took place, the story that was shared was of a man who was beaten to a pulp by another with a baseball bat. It became a homicide as the victim later died at the hospital.

Perhaps one of the most valid questions on the net was why would anyone have a baseball bat in his car, in a country where the sport is not really played.

In one of the many versions of the story that spread like a wildfire was that the victim’s face was smashed beyond recognition and that his entire abdomen ruptured.

Since the “victim” and the “assailant” were of different races, the story got even more emotionally charged and ethnically motivated, with angry quarters screaming for justice.

The short video (which did not really tell that much actually) was shared repeatedly on various social media platforms, fuelling anger among many different races.

However, by Sunday afternoon, the real story began to unfold, and it was totally different from the various versions that were shared on the net.

According to news reports, it all started with a minor fender bender that turned into a car chase and ultimately led to a fatal road rage incident along the PLUS Highway near Bandar Baru Bangi.

Apparently, police investigations revealed that the 29-year-old victim had initially rear-ended the car driven by the 40-year-old suspect just after the Sungai Besi toll plaza at around 1.40pm on Saturday.

Following the incident, the suspect and victim were involved in a car chase until they reached the Bandar Baru Bangi exit.

A scuffle then ensued between the two and witnesses at the scene attempted to calm them down and both parties went back to their vehicles.

However, the victim was still not too happy and returned from his car with a baseball bat and hit the front of the suspect’s car.

The suspect then drove his car forward hurriedly and hit the deceased.

The victim was pinned between the suspect’s car and the road divider.

The victim was brought to the Nilai Medical Centre for treatment, but did not survive.

On Sunday, the police arrested the other driver, a 40-year-old man, and his 36-year-old wife, and a case was opened under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder.

Obviously, it was a case of road rage and had nothing to do with racism as shared by the more enthusiastic rumour-mongers.

Sad, but true. Everyone wants to be the first to break the story, while not really caring about how it would affect the masses, and if any bit that they share has been overly exaggerated.

The smarter ones would certainly not simply jump to any conclusion, and would wait for official reports or news breaks via the more reputable parties, like any established newspapers or news portals.

Then again, when the phones are always smarter than the users, and the addiction to share the latest is just too great, is there really anything that we can actually do?

Zainal Alam Kadir is the executive editor of The Malaysian Reserve.