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4/13/2006

Columns > News of the Weird

News of the Weird

 

A series of unfortunate events

In earnest testimony in March, Douglas Dyer explained how it was just bad luck that his married girlfriend got shot twice, fatally, in the middle of her back by the rifle he was holding. Dyer said he had originally intended to kill himself, but when she grabbed at the gun to stop him, it fired into her hand. Then, as she ran out a door, he followed and bumped the door open with the gun, causing it to fire and accidentally hit her flush in the back. As his body flinched from the shot, banging into a wall, the rifle again accidentally fired, putting another bullet in the center of her back. (The Rockland, Maine, jury apparently didn’t believe a word of it and convicted him of murder.)

claim jumper

England’s Norwich Union insurance company reached a settlement in January with its employee Linda Riley over her workplace injuries. Riley had tripped over a pile of claim forms in the office.

power trip

Brian Blair is now a Republican county commissioner in Tampa, Fla., but before that was a professional wrestler for 20 years. He now says it wasn’t the dropkicks, pile-drivers or neck-breakers that ended his career, but rather tripping over a tray of dirty dishes at a Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Tampa in 2001, which he said injured his head, shoulder and knee; his lawsuit is still pending. (His previous lawyers resigned in March.) Blair wrestled for four months after that injury, but said the matches were the less-strenuous “tag-team” contests. Also, hospital records show a blood-alcohol reading of 0.089 90 minutes after the incident, though Blair told the Tampa Tribune he only had a sip.

labor shortage, indeed

According to the Hartwell (Ga.) Sun, state Sen. Nancy Schaefer, speaking at an “issues day” event in February, said one reason illegal immigrants find work in the United States was because “50 million” abortions have caused a U.S. labor shortage: “We could have used those people.”

Alert level: snow white

In a two-day period in March, alarming reports revealed that “dirty (radiation) bombs” easily entered the country in car trunks in tests, that one-third of U.S. civilian nuclear research reactors were insufficiently secure, and that concerns were heightened about the 2,000 shoulder-fired missiles said to be unaccounted for in the world’s arsenals. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Times reported that the fishing village of Dillingham, Alaska, at least, is secure, now that a $200,000 Homeland Security anti-terrorism grant has paid for 60 “downtown” surveillance cameras (with 20 more to come). Dillingham (pop. 2,400) is about 300 miles from Anchorage, with no roads linking it to anywhere.

rush to judgment

Ms. Zulima Farber became the New Jersey attorney general in January even though her public record shows 13 speeding tickets, three license suspensions and two bench warrants (for failure to appear in court regarding the tickets). Farber acknowledged “embarrassment” at the record and joked that it might take “psychoanalysis” to learn why she did those things. (However, a psychoanalyst interviewed by the New York Daily News rejected the suggestion. Farber, said the doctor, just “needs a spanking.”)

Beer in the headlights

A 44-year-old man was arrested for DUI in Australia’s Northern Territory in March after he asked a police officer how to get to the hard-to-miss Ayers Rock, a huge, 1,000-foot-high rock formation that appears red in sunlight, which was about 300 feet in front of him, illuminated in his headlights.

beatdown blowout

In July 2005, News of the Weird reported Jared Gipson’s extremely bad idea of trying to rob Blalock’s Beauty College in Shreveport, La. The 20 students and teachers inside beat him to a pulp with curling irons, hair dryers, chairs, a table leg and their fists, leaving him with 21 cuts that had to be stitched. In March 2006, Gipson, 24, was sentenced for that attempted robbery, and as a recidivist, got 25 years in prison. He might have received more, except that several of the women asked the judge for leniency.    

the great leap forward

John Melo’s lawsuit demanding re-sentencing was rejected in March by the Middlesex County, Mass., Superior Court. Facing a term of 10 years, Melo had complained that a couple of leap years were included in that time, and a “year” is usually 365 days.

Touched by some angels

Police were investigating the Hell’s Angels chapter in Stockholm, Sweden, in February after 70 members claimed government benefits for being “depressed.” Police said the gang had largely abandoned its reliance on shootouts and bomb attacks and moved into crimes like tax fraud.

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