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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

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Bad Trade

In March, Jason Bacon, 41, was arrested in Eureka, Calif., after he allegedly responded to a classified ad for a used motorcycle by offering to trade about $8,000 worth of his homegrown marijuana for the bike. According to an officer on the scene, Bacon told a deputy, "I know you can't sell it, but I thought it was OK to trade it."

Unclear on the Concept


Kathleen Mathews was outraged that the local community could turn on her 26-year-old son, Jesse, who had been charged with capital murder for killing a police officer in Chattanooga, Tenn. She stated in a letter that Jesse is a "good man," and lamented, "You do one little thing that pisses people off, and they want to hold it against you forever." [Chattanooga Times Free Press, Feb. 12]

Can't Possibly Be True


U.S. Immigration agents in a $160,000 Chevy Suburban that had been custom-designed and -armored specifically to protect agents from roadside kidnappings became sitting ducks last year when kidnappers forced the vehicle off the road near San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and got the door open briefly, enabling them to fire rounds inside and kill one of the two agents in the car. According to a February Washington Post report, the Department of Homeland Security had failed to modify the vehicle's factory setting that makes the door locks automatically pop open whenever the driver shifts into "Park."

Our Dynamic Democracy


Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey, an anti-abortion Republican, introduced a bill in January to ban the use of human fetuses in processed food. Even the principal anti-abortion advocacy official in the state said he had never heard of such a practice, but Sen. Shortey asserted that it was a problem and that he had been reading up on it on the Internet.

Creme de la Weird


Madeleine Martin, the chief animal protection official for the state government of Hesse, Germany, told a newspaper in Frankfurt in February that among the reasons why the country needed an anti-bestiality law was that she knew of "animal brothels" in Germany (presumably, this refers to human-animal facilities, not animal-animal mating services). Without an anti-bestiality law, authorities usually must prove that the animal has been physically harmed in order to obtain a conviction.

Least Competent Criminals

Law enforcement officers turn to Facebook nowadays to help solve crimes, knowing that some perpetrators cannot resist bragging about or even showing off things they've recently stolen. For example, Steven Mulhall, 21, will likely be prosecuted for stealing the nameplate off the door of Broward County (Fla.) Judge Michael Orlando—seeing as, in March, he posted a photograph of himself holding it following a courtroom visit. (In other Facebook news, in Tacoma, Wash., in March, corrections officer Alan O'Neill, 41, was charged with bigamy after his estranged first wife found out about the second one when Facebook suggested the two be "friends.")

Armed and Clumsy


People Who Accidentally Shot Themselves Recently: Lee Miars, 30, in Myrtle Creek, Ore., while pointing a gun at his head to illustrate a story for friends (January), and a 22-year-old Navy SEAL, in San Diego, Calif., while pointing a gun at his head to convince a friend it was unloaded (January). Riki Ingram, 18, in Baker, La., shot his leg while "holstering" his gun to his pocket following a robbery (December). Ethan Bennett, 36, in Monroe, Wash., aiming at a squirrel running up his leg, shot his foot (November). Special Deputy Ted Maze, in Bedford, Ind., shot his hand while reloading at a training session (June). Kenneth Fortson, 21, in Atlanta, was killed in a police chase following an alleged home invasion. Apparently, Fortson was holding a gun when his pickup truck crashed, jarring his trigger finger (October). Larry Godwin, 68, in Redfield, Iowa, shot himself twice while firing at a raccoon in a live trap (February). 

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd

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