News of the weird: 12/30

By Chuck Shepherd

Perspective

Although elephants, rhesus monkeys, cobras, cows and water buffalos are regarded as sacred by many of India’s Hindus, the animals most certainly do not live idyllic lives, according to a November BBC News dispatch. As “growing populations are swallowing up habitat,” the divine symbols are forced to the cities, where they must dodge traffic, forage garbage for food and endanger themselves encountering people less certain of their holiness (such as in the November report of the cobra harassing customers at an ATM in Delhi). As representatives of Lord Ganesha, elephants live well only during religious festivals, but otherwise must navigate asphalt and potholes that tear up their hooves. In another November incident, some Hindu leaders protested a drive to kill rats that had infested the Maharaja Yeshwantrao hospital in Indore – because Ganesha was depicted riding a mouse.

Police report

In a 2012 incident in Cleveland (where a white police officer recently shot to death a black teenager holding a toy gun), 13 officers chased two unarmed black homeless drug users at high speeds and fired 137 shots at the pair, killing them. (A car had supposedly backfired, suggesting a gunshot at the cops.) As a result of “communication” failure, the 13 were placed on limited “desk duty” for 16 months and subjected to continuing investigation. Recently, nine of the 13 officers sued the city, charging that non-black officers are historically and illegally disciplined more harshly for mistakes when victims are black.

Big Crime: (1) Four officers responded in Tayport, Scotland, in July to arrest Irene Clark, 65, who spent 48 hours in jail – after committing the crime of swatting her husband with a magazine while arguing over TV programs (causing a paper cut). (2) Christopher Saunders, 38, pleaded guilty in North Devon, England, in November to possession of 0.09 grams of marijuana (value: 14 cents). (3) Keith Shannon, 44, was sentenced (two years’ probation) in Letterkenny, Ireland, in November for twice being caught swiping “tester” packets of aftershave at a Boots store (value: 2 cents each).

A News of the Weird classic (February 2011)

The ear has a “G-spot,” explained Santa Clara, California, ear, nose and throat surgeon Todd Dray, and thus the moans of ecstasy that Vietnamese “ear pickers” reportedly elicit from their clients might well be justified. A San Jose Mercury News reporter, dispatched to Ho Chi Minh City in January (2011) to check it out, learned that barber shop technicians could sometimes coax “eargasms” (as they removed wax) by tickling a certain spot next to the ear drum served by multiple nerve endings and tissue paper-thin skin. Said one female client, “Everybody is afraid the first time, but after, it’s, ‘Oh my God!’“ Said one Vietnamese man, returning home after a trip abroad, and who went immediately from the airport to a “hot toc” parlor for a picking, “(This) brings a lot of happiness.”

Wait, what?

In November, a clothing store on Yabao Road in Beijing came under criticism for posting a sign, “Chinese Not Admitted,” on its door. An employee told the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper that no one should believe that “we Chinese look down upon ourselves. But some Chinese customers are too annoying.” (A legal scholar told the newspaper that China, except for Hong Kong, has no law against racial or ethnic discrimination.)

Least competent criminals

(1) Unclear on the Concept: A 34-year-old man was arrested at a Tesco supermarket in Bar Hill, England, on Nov. 12 when he entered the store and threatened employees – by showing them a photograph of a gun. (2) Recurring Theme: Two men were arrested easily in Silver City, New Mexico, in December. Thieves had broken into Javalina Coffee House downtown and dragged away the ATM behind their truck. With the help of a witness – and especially the gouge marks in the street running from the Javalina directly to the nearby residence of the men – police nabbed the two and were still searching for a third.

Armed and clumsy

(all-new!)

Won’t Make That Mistake Again: (1) Ralik Hansen, 28, suspected in a dramatic New York City jewelry robbery, heard a knock at the door of a Brooklyn home in October, squeezed down under a couch and accidentally shot himself to death. (He thought he was hiding from police; it was a delivery man.) (2) Dennis Emery, 57, according to neighbors a frequent gun-brandisher at home in Pinellas Park, Florida, accidentally mishandled one during a November domestic argument and fatally shot himself in the face. (3) A 26-year-old woman in St. Louis, who had recently purchased a handgun to protect against potential violence in Ferguson, was waving it around while riding in a car with a friend, causing him to grab for it, and a shot fatally struck her. (However, police still have not closed that case.)

Copyright 2014 Chuck ShepherdDistributed by Universal Uclick

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Chuck Shepherd
Copyright 2015 Chuck Shepherd. Distributed by Universal Uclick

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