Hitchhiker Story Shoots Anti-Oil Narrative in Foot

Aaron Flint posted on June 19, 2012 11:37 :: 3690 Views

It was such a catchy story.  A hitchhiker writing a book on kindness in America is shot while hitchhiking in Northeast Montana.  At first, it seemed to fit into the anti-oil and gas narrative, as news reports detailing the incident felt the urge to point out that “the shooting took place about three miles west of Glasgow, along rural U.S. Highway 2, a major route into and out of the oil patch.”  Later in that same article, the spike in crime in Eastern Montana due to the economic boom from the oil and gas fields is also referenced.

Well, it turns out the “blame the oil and gas development” narrative got shot in the foot.  According to law enforcement, it is now clear that the hitchhiker merely shot himself so he could get a little publicity.  

As the AP reports:

Authorities now say Dolin shot himself in the arm in what appears to have been a hoax intended to promote his book. Dolin has confessed to making up the story, Meier said.

But as doubts about his story grew, deputies returned to the shooting scene along U.S. Highway 2 west of the farming community of Glasgow, where they found a Derringer pistol in a nearby field, Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier said.

The gun, they continued, belonged to Dolin. 

Meanwhile, Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier told The Los Angeles Times that he and his deputies went out of their way to help out the man who was initially suspected of being the shooter, since his vehicle matched a description provided by Dolin. 

“I just feel sorry for the guy,” Meyer said. “We ripped his life apart for about a week. He was sitting in jail accused of shooting someone. That had to be terrible.”

The sheriff said that when he learned that Danielson would be released from custody today pending the DUI charge, he decided to send an officer to collect Danielson and give him a ride back to his truck.

“I kind of thought that was the least we could do for the fellow,” he said.

Click here to read the full story in The LA Times.


Be honest

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:12 PM

You seem to be the one with the editorial “narrative,” Aaron Flint. Truly random violence is almost unheard of in Montana. A story about a random drive-by shooting in the same normally-peaceful part of Montana where a woman was abducted and murdered by strangers is newsworthy by anyone’s standards. Yes, officials have said resource development on the east side has brought with it an uptick in crime. Acknowledging that hardly makes for an “anti-oil narrative,” except to you, I guess.

You seem to need to come across as superior to “the media” or the “mainstream media,” as you call them – to the point that you twist what others report by imagining a “narrative” that doesn’t exist.

You did the same with the story about the outhouse at the GOP convention. EVERY media report I read included comments from party leaders who said they had nothing to do with the outhouse. Yet you say “the media” reported that “the GOP bought and paid for the outhouse.” No such thing was reported. That is YOUR narrative once again.

A little honesty will only help your credibility.

Aaron Flint

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:29 PM

Uhhh…did you read the article linked to above? It wasn’t a random drive-by shooting. He shot himself for publicity. The uptick in crime due to the economic development in E. Montana is a separate story.

As for the outhouse- why all of the excitement over what one guy, not officially coming from the party, brings to a convention? Yet, when a congressman’s wife gets pushed around at a debate it barely gets a mention. I don’t claim to be better than the rest of the media, we all make mistakes- or, at least, we all look at things diffently. At the end of the day, we need more voices, not less.

As for crime in Eastern Montana- if you’ve spent time listening to our talk show, I have spent several shows talking about crime in Eastern Montana. In fact, I believe all of the Attorney General candidates who came on the show before the primary were specifically asked about crime in Eastern Montana and what should be done to further support law enforcement.

Regarding your thoughts on my “editorial narrative”- this is a blog and I host a talk show, which is an editorial format. Editorializing is expected in an editorial format, it should not expected in a news format.

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