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Give the Associated Press credit for media consistency. News outlets have spent the last 50 years attempting to distance Ted Kennedy from Chappaquiddick, and this passive-voice remembrance is … perfect.
As Twitter pal Jeff Dobbs puts it, the real crime is that the car got away with it:
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Let’s start this in reverse, as it’s the best way to put this in perspective. It’s not true that Kopechne “drowned.” The coroner never autopsied the body, itself a curious omission when dealing with an unattended death of a healthy young woman. Eyewitness testimony by the person who recovered her body at the scene, as well as the position of the body, strongly suggests she suffocated after spending a significant amount of time exhausting the oxygen in the air bubble of the submerged car. Heavy covered this in the release of the film Chappaquiddick last year:
Globe - Life - Autopsy - Kopechne - Car
According to the Globe, in real life, an autopsy was not conducted on Kopechne so it’s not clear if she drowned or suffocated inside the car. While both are awful ways to go, the latter is certainly more agonizing and long. The Globe notes that the diver who pulled Mary Jo’s body from the submerged vehicle believed she “suffocated after surviving for an hour or more in a pocket of air, based on the position of her body.” That means there is evidence for the version of events that the film tells, but it’s still just one theory.
It’s a plausible one, though. When the diver reached Kopechne, according to History.com, “Her face was pressed into the footwell, and her hands gripped the back of the front seat, as if she...
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