News stories become a lot more newsworthy when good-looking people are involved

“Thousands of people die every single day.”

That’s the one thing we need to reassure ourselves each day upon watching the news, and hearing about the latest story about someone who died. Unfortunately, among those thousands, news outlets are able to handpick the ones they wish to report, whether it’s because of its unique nature, the age or the physical appearance of the victim or perpetrator, its location, etc.

Casey Anthony is a pretty good example. She was a terrible mother who “allegedly” abandoned and/or killed her child. It sucks — but incidents like that happen much too often. So why did it become national news? Because Casey Anthony was young and attractive. That’s pretty much the only reason.

There’s no questioning the tragedy when a 3-year-old dies, but, let’s face it. If her mother was 50-years-old and fat, the story may have been reported for a day, and no more. It’s just the way it is. Physical appearances capture our attention — always have. Always will. Whether’s it’s passersby on the street, or a murder suspect, one of the first things we notice about someone is the way they look.

That all being said, sometimes news outlets are handed the perfect storm of a news story — a pretty, young girl who was killed under suspicious circumstances, in a prominent town.

This week, they received just that with Andrea Rebello.

I’m not entirely sure just how national this news has become — but I’m assuming it’s being discussed to some extent across the country. However, it’s major news here in Long Island because that’s exactly where it occurred. Rebello was a 21-year-old junior at Hofstra University who was shot dead during a botched robbery early in the morning between Thursday and Friday. Among her housemates included her twin sister.

That in itself is enough to capture people’s attention. A young girl who is simply trying to make her way through college ended up dead because some scumbags chose to break into the house she was living in. And there’s two of her.

But what’s made the story even more captivating is that Rebello wasn’t just pretty, she was gorgeous.

I mean, there’s really no other way to spin that. She’s gorgeous. A guy like me would be thrilled to one day find himself in the acquaintance of a girl like that.

So that’s what happened. A beautiful girl died during a home invasion.

But that’s not all.

I remember reading the articles pertaining to this story on Friday and early Saturday. As someone who works in journalism, I found it remarkable how little news was being revealed. Normally when something significant like this happens, the news is fairly clear-cut — the gist of it, at least.

Man breaks into home. Man kills girl. Police kill man.

However, the articles were all shockingly murky over what happened. Everything I read was specifically candid about the fact that nobody knew who killed the girl. That caught my attention, and immediately alerted me that there was more to this case than meets the eye.

Well late Saturday night the facts started to trickle out: the girl was shot dead — not by the burglar — but by police.

Oh snap.

As far as I am reading, the burglar held Rebello in a headlock while surrounded by police, held a gun to her head and said he was “going to kill her.” When he turned his gun away from her and onto police, an unnamed officer shot eight times at the man — seven hit him, one found its way to Rebello’s head, killing her.

Damn. I mean, that’s a bomb drop if I ever heard one. Imagine the girl’s parents, already heartbroken over the loss of their daughter, only to learn that the bullet that caused her death was fired by the people who were supposed to be protecting her.

And eight shots? Really? When the girl is in clear view, being headlocked, aren’t cops trained to show a little more discretion in such scenarios? I’m no cop, but isn’t it common sense to not fire unless you’re certain that potential innocent victims are out of harm’s way? And even if you are confident in your sharpshooting abilities, shouldn’t you only shoot like… once?

I for one was shocked when I heard the news. Because I knew that the story, which was already big, just became massive. And it’s not going away for a long time.

Police have kept the officer’s name from going public for obvious reasons. However, it’s going to come out eventually. Right now, he is on “sick leave,” which basically means “Stay the fuck home and don’t show your face anywhere until we figure out how to figure out this clusterfuck you caused.”

So now you have everything. Beautiful girl, murder, and wrongful death. It’s the type of story that FOX, NBC and CNN drool over.

That is a picture of Rebello (right) with her twin sister Jessica, since I knew you all were wondering.

It’s an interesting dynamic. Incidents like this, when the victim happens to be incredibly attractive, tend to draw more sympathy. Case and point — this blog. Do you think I would be talking about this right now if Rebello didn’t look the way she did?

It’s not to say that I, or anyone else, wouldn’t have been sympathetic prior to seeing what she looked like — not at all. This is a girl who was just living life the way we’re supposed to — attending college, learning a craft and readying herself for the world. Break-ins, guns and shootouts aren’t supposed to factor into that equation.

Additionally, this happened right here in my backyard. So my sympathy was had long before this. But when I did see what she looked like, I’d be a liar to say my attention and sympathies didn’t increase exponentially.

Regardless, a girl is dead, right at the end of the school year, and that sucks. She was shot by a police officer, which sucks even more. I can only imagine the relief this girl and her roommates must have experienced to see the police arrive, and knowing that, finally, they were safe and sound. Little did they know that their arrival was a death sentence.

That “sick leave” better become a whole lot more, and soon.

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