Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Parenting 101

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In April, Joseph Manzanares, 19, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Commerce City, Colo., after police were called to the scene of a domestic disturbance. Manzanares and his ex-girlfriend, who are the parents of a 4-year-old son, were fighting over which local gang’s colors (his or hers) the kid would wear.

Government in Action!
In April, Army medic Monica Brown was awarded the Silver Star for bravery for selflessly subjecting herself to enemy fire in order to treat fallen comrades in battle in Afghanistan. However, two days after her heroics, she was ordered home against her will because generals were nervous that a female appeared to be “in combat,” which violates Army rules. By contrast, in April (according to The Buffalo News), the Army cited personnel shortages in ordering honorably discharged soldier James Raymond back to duty, even though he was on medical disability for a knee injury and loss of hearing suffered in Afghanistan. (Soldiers on “Individual Readiness Reserve” are still eligible for duty, if necessary.)

Fine Points of the Law
Gary Weaver, 41, arrested on a disorderly conduct charge in Cincinnati, was discovered to have an outstanding theft warrant from 1990 for $21.64. The temporary bond on Weaver in 1990, based on his prior record, had been $1 million, and the 2008 judge refused to change that. (Extra fact: The $21.64 theft was based on Weaver’s paying a store in part with a roll of dimes that were really pennies but with a dime at each end.)

Educating Our Children
School authorities in Mount Vernon, Ohio, began an investigation in April after complaints that eighth-grade science teacher John Freshwater was injecting his religious beliefs a little too much into the class. Freshwater allegedly made a demonstration of electrostatic electricity in which he asked for volunteers to take a shock on the arm—which resulted in a distinct “cross” being burned onto the skin.

People Different From Us
In April, police in East Hampton, Conn., seized “dozens of unsecured guns and mounds of loose ammunition” while investigating the accidental shooting of ex- Marine Joseph Simonelli, 60, by his 9-year-old son. According to the Hartford Courant, there was a “wide-open, chock-full gun cabinet in the boy’s bedroom (with) numerous rifles and knives strewn about the room.”

Police said that bullet casings and live rounds lay “throughout the house,” and the walls of the boy’s bedroom contained “numerous small holes (made by a) BB/pellet gun or even small-caliber (.22) rounds being shot inside the home.” The boy told police that he “usually” only shoots his rifles when he’s outside.

Least Competent Criminals
Should’ve chosen another career: (1) Joshua Crowley, 22, was charged with robbing a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Camas, Wash., in March after being chased down, wrestled with and subdued by passerby Mary Chamberlain, 66. (2) In April in Bartlesville, Okla., Robert Horsley, 46, allegedly broke the glass on the front door of the house of a 95-year-old woman. But whenever he tried to reach in to unlock the door, the woman used a screwdriver to stab his hand. By the time police arrived, said officer Tom Holland, “(Horsley’s hand) was pretty chewed up and one knuckle was almost gone.”

Inadequate Game Plans: (1) In April, in response to a man wielding an ax and demanding the contents of his cash register, the owner of Sam’s Cigars in Vista, Calif., grabbed his wife, dashed out the front door and locked the man inside until police arrived. (2) The next week in a suburb of Tampa, Fla., cafe owner Agustin De Jesus was asleep for the night in a back room, when he was awakened by a break-in. He noticed that the thief had parked his SUV by the back door with the engine running, so De Jesus hopped in, drove away and called police, who arrested Leonard Levy, 55, who is a candidate for life in prison based on his long record.

Recurring Themes
Navigation System On, Brain Off: (1) Brad Adams, 52, crashed his charter bus into a pedestrian bridge in Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum in April. The bus was 11 feet 8 inches high while the bridge was only 9 feet high. Adams said he missed warning signs because he was busy following the navigation system. Twenty high school softball players had to be sent to a hospital following the crash. (2) Five days after that, in King’s Lynn, England, a Streamline taxi minibus had to be pulled from the River Nar after the driver, who said he was obediently following the instructions of the navigation system, drove straight into the water.

Names in the News
(1) Arrested in Austin, Texas, in April after a SWAT standoff in which police tried to serve warrants for parole violation and other charges: Don Truevillain, 24. (2) Arrested in Jefferson County, Wis., in March and charged with a vicious murder: James A. Hole, 34.

2008 Chuck Shepherd

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