Fear and loathing in Las Vegas

The grim discovery that the victim of a hit-and-run driver in Las Vegas was subsequently robbed by passersby make the ghouls in the worst horror movies sound like amateurs. What kind of people -- a term obviously used loosely -- would at 5:20 in the evening ransack a dead woman's purse, wallet and back-pack.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Lynette Spiller, 42, was killed Tuesday night jaywalking across the street from her home. Police believe she may have been drinking. Witnesses said she was first hit by a white compact vehicle that fled the scene and then by a sports utility vehicle that also drove off. A third vehicle tried to avoid the body but could not. At least the driver of that car had the good conscience to stop.
Still, before police could get to the scene, some unknown passerby rifled through the victim's belongings. We would have preferred to think that someone was simply looking for the decedent's identification, but police don't believe that to be the case. The dead and the drunk are often considered easy pickings by human vultures.
Yet as tragic and bizarre as this story seemed, what happened later was even more incredible.
The morning after the accident, a 78-year-old woman took her Saturn to a repair shop complaining that someone had hit her windshield with a rock the previous evening. She had even reported the incident to the Las Vegas Metro Police.
Now, detectives believe the "rock" was actually the victim.
Senility? We can only wonder if the driver was inebriated as well -- or perhaps suffering advanced senility. Obviously, anyone who can't tell the difference between a rock and a human being shouldn't be on the road.
If an inebriated pedestrian steps in front of a car on a busy boulevard, a driver might not be able to stop in time to avoid an accident. But the law -- in any state -- and common decency demand that the driver stop.
Much has been made of the response by Americans to the events of September 11 and thereafter, of the turning toward help for neighbors or support for strangers. Lynette Spiller was someone's neighbor, a member of someone's family. But to at least two drivers and one thief, she didn't count for anything at all.

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