This one was quite a shock. I just heard the news of journalist Michael Hastings’ death at the young age of 33. Hastings was the reporter for Rolling Stone who got General Stanley McChrystal 86ed from Afghanistan a couple of years back. This guy was incredibly ballsy – an in-your-face writer who didn’t seem to fear anyone, no matter how powerful. Lately he seems to have been all over the Obama spying scandals like a cheap suit. Check out his latest article, Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans. His style was fearless, as if he were going to ferret out illegality and sleaze no matter where it went or who it implicated and there was nothing anyone in power could do to stop him.

Then I heard the specific details of his death and I really got spooked. Apparently it was a single-car accident. He was driving in a residential section of Los Angeles at 4:25 a.m. on Tuesday morning (June 18) in a brand-new Mercedes. According to a witness the car suddenly jacknifed before it crashed into a tree. According to another witness, “It sounded like a bomb went off in the middle of the night” – it shook her house and rattled the windows. Check out the 5:00 minute mark in the video I embedded above – the entire engine looks like it was blown about 30 or 40 yards from the car. Is that normal? The car itself, and Hastings’ body, were “burned beyond recognition”.

Maybe I’ve spent too many hours researching the Kennedy assassination, but there’s something scary about all this. How many times has Lindsey Lohan hit a tree with her Mercedes in L.A.? How about Paris Hilton or any other number of young celebrities? Did their cars “explode” like a bomb going off? Did their engines get blown 40 yards clear of the car? This is more like a scene from “The Godfather” or “Casino” than a routine traffic accident. It looks suspicious to me. Does that necessarily mean this was some kind of assassination or conspiracy? Of course not. But it does merit a close look.

We – as a blogging community, or a reporting community, or a community of citizens, or whatever you want to call us, are going to have to really nag the authorities to do a decent investigation here. What would cause the car to explode like that? How fast was it going when it hit the tree? Was Hastings under the influence of anything? Can they even test his blood after his body was burned so horribly?

Ugh. I’ve got a really bad feeling here. What do you think?