Friends of 9-year-old Damori Miles of Brooklyn, New York, claim the boy was imitating moves from WWE SmackDown vs Raw when he jumped off of his apartment rooftop to his death wearing a makeshift parachute.
The boy's was found on the ground outside his apartment building at 7pm on Tuesday night, wrapped in the string and plastic he used to try and recreate a parachute in order to dive off of his thirteen story apartment building. He died an hour later at the Interfaith Medical Centre. It's a tragic story, made even more upsetting by the amount of focus the video game angle is being given by the mainstream media. The source is one of Damori's friends, 11-year-old Shakar Murrel.
"He tried to do a swan dive like Jeff Harding does in 'SmackDown.' That was his favourite game. He played it all the time," Shakar said. "That was what he was trying to do. If I would have seen him up there, I would have told him not to do it."
From this we get headlines like the New York Daily News' "9-year-old Damori Miles dies in jump off Brooklyn apartment, may have been imitating video game", and "Boy fond of video game wrestler's swan dives makes plastic parachute, takes NY roof death leap" from News Channel 3 in Norfolk, Virginia. Even the wrestling news sites are picking up the story, with the Wrestling World News reporting "9-Year-Old Boy Dies When Imitating A Move Off SmackDown vs. Raw 2009; WWE Responds".
And what was the WWE's response? Along with pointing out that no WWE or RAW characters jump off of roofs wearing parachutes, WWE spokesman Robert Zimmerman had the following to say:
"The death of Damori Miles is a tragedy and our condolences go out to his family," he said. "We should allow the authorities to conduct a full investigation... including insecure roof access, before conclusions are made about this unfortunate incident."
This is the most sense the WWE has made to me in decades. The roof should have been locked. Neighbours said that an alarm should have gone off, but it had not. The boy's mother had left him alone to go to the store. A 9-year-old who had received special education instruction, left alone to his own devices.
So many other factors, yet the one aspect most of the mainstream press are picking up on is the fact that he played a wrestling video game. A video game based on a sport regularly aired on television, where the same moves are shown on a regular basis.
What I find the most telling is the fact that the New York Daily News' original story had no mention of the video game connection, simply titled "9-year-old Brooklyn boy jumps from building using makeshift parachute and dies", written by different staff writers. The same story from two different angles.
I guess the video game angle just makes for more exciting news.
9-year-old Damori Miles dies in jump off Brooklyn apartment, may have been imitating video game [NY Daily News - Thanks Jeremy]