Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008

Crime Hurts

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Police arrested Jose Diaz Jr., 35, and charged him with shoplifting from a Wal-Mart in Madison Township, Ohio, in October after Diaz attempted to run from the store with a digital camera. He first crashed into the glass front door—which looked like it was open, but was actually closed—and cut himself badly. Then he exited into the parking lot, where he almost immediately ran into a cement post, allowing security personnel to catch up to him.

Local Government Follies
(1) Police in Cobb County, Ga., said in October that County Commissioner Annette Kesting had asked “high voodoo priestess” George Ann Mills to perform a “death ritual” on her longtime political rival Woody Thompson. Allegedly, she preferred that Thompson die from cancer or a car accident. Mills acknowledged helping Kesting on some “family” issues, by sacrificing three hens and a rooster, but said she would never help to take a human life.

(2) In Flint, Mich., two people (an assistant to the mayor and a local activist) accused City Councilwoman Jackie Poplar of assault following a rancorous council meeting. Poplar allegedly sprayed the pair with a can of Raid, proclaiming, “Pests! We need to get rid of these pests!”

Can’t Possibly Be True

  • Residents of an Austin, Texas, neighborhood undergoing a federally mandated sewer replacement noticed that, for several weeks starting in September, the work crews would spend the first three hours of their 12-hour days digging a huge hole in the street, and the last three hours re-filling and paving over it (repeating the process each day). The 20-by-20-by-20-foot hole in Monroe Street was too big to be covered with metal plates, and the city's policy of minimal traffic disruption required repaving for nighttime use, at least doubling the cost of the work.
  • (1) In October, a 58-year-old patient accused the Rush Green Dental Practice in Romford, England, of injecting Novocain in preparation for an extraction and then refusing to pull the tooth until he handed over an additional 30 pounds ($47) in cash. The patient had to go home to get his ATM card, according to a Daily Mail report, and did not make it back until the Novocain had begun to wear off.

    (2) Police in the Bavarian town of Neu-Ulm said they were investigating a dentist who allegedly barged into the home of a 35-year-old patient in September, tied her hands, forced her mouth open and removed dentures worth the equivalent of about $500 because the woman’s insurance company had declined to pay.

Unclear on the Concept
In November, after two years of controversy, the school board in Jacksonville, Fla., voted 5-2 to retain the designation of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, which is named for a Confederate general who was also an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Advocates for change described Forrest as one of America’s biggest Civil War slave traders, but a local Confederacy historian said his research indicated that Forrest was “nice” to his slaves, adding, “They loved him.”

Perverts
(1) Akira Hino, 51, was arrested in Tokyo in September and charged with stealing a woman’s underpants by using a fishing rod to reach a laundry pole on an apartment balcony. Police found more than 500 women’s undies in his apartment.

2) A 34-year-old primary-school teacher was convicted in September for a 2007 incident in Clydebank, Scotland, in which he was arrested after he stopped in front of a high school—on his way to work—and was caught watching students while fondling himself with an electrical vibrator plugged into his car’s cigarette lighter.

Recurring Themes
The latest evidence that size matters to men:

(1) Following a men’s room argument in Durban, South Africa, in September, five men left a bar, returned with guns and killed three patrons. According to police, the altercation started when a man at a urinal called attention to another man’s “small” genital size, and the incident escalated from there.

(2) In August, the indecent-exposure conviction of a Houston urologist was upheld on appeal despite a doctor stating that he is so “small” (2.8 inches) that it would have been impossible for his sex organ to be seen by anyone, even if he had tried to expose himself.

The Only Way Out
Initially, authorities ruled the March shooting death of Texas restaurant executive Thomas Hickman, 55, a kidnap-murder, since he had been shot in the back of the head and his body was found in the New Mexico desert. Later, however, investigators found the murder weapon nearby, attached to balloons that had snagged on a cactus, and in July concluded that Hickman had killed himself. They said that he rigged helium-filled balloons to carry the gun away as he lay dying, in a plan that resembled a 2003 episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

2008 Chuck Shepherd