Monthly Archives: December 2012
I’ve never been a huge fan of “round-up” articles, but sometimes they simply cannot be avoided. When news stories converge around a specific theme, in this case shootings, I find them very hard to resist. Of course, it would be better if the subject were less violent and disturbing.
The first incident happened on Christmas night in Phoenix, Arizona. 23-year-old yo-yo champion Nathan Dewitt was driving in his Ford Explorer when he suddenly lost control, rolled his SUV and crashed into a tree.
A witness rushed to help just as Dewitt was crawling from the wreckage. He told the stranger he had been shot and died a short time later at a local hospital. And sadly, the shooter has not yet been found.
I’m sure Dewitt never expected this Christmas to be his last.
A day later in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a 45-year-old pizza delivery man took a fresh pie to Demetrius Patterson, a seemingly normal customer. But we all know there ain’t nothing normal in this crazy world, don’t we?
It seems Demetrius was displeased with the small size of his pizza and demanded the driver give him all the deliveries from his car. The driver obviously refused and started walking back to his vehicle, so he never saw Demetrius bum rushing him from the house with a gun.
Fortunately for the driver, Demetrius is a terrible shot and missed, so he escaped unharmed. The cops picked up the disgruntled customer later, found and matched the handgun and booked him for second-degree assault.
It’s nice when these things work out for the good guys, because it doesn’t happen very often.
Finally we have 31-year-old Anthony Kuber of Chicago, Illinois. Tony got off the Red Line and was walking to his father’s house when muggers grabbed him and yanked him into an alley. They stole his iPhone, shot him multiple times and hauled ass. Kuber crawled to the street and begged someone to help.
Tony is lucky to be alive, of course, but he also lacks insurance and finds himself in debt. How’s that for the “icing on the cake?”
Guns. Why does it always have to be about guns?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 71,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
I am so glad there are people out there who do the right thing, help and inspire others, and generally give human beings a good name. Because sadly, there are others who make us all look really bad.
37-year-old Nouel Alba from the Bronx is one of the bad ones.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Connecticut, Alba decided she would pose as the aunt of one of the young victims, Noah Pozner, and collect donations to fund his funeral. She set up a Facebook page and directed all the ensuing donations to her PayPal account.
Federal authorities caught wind of the scam after CNN’s interview with Alba on December 19th. At that time, she denied everything but inadvertently identified an email that came from her personal account. It seems that was all the feds needed and when they questioned Alba, she lied about the scam.
Alba was arrested last Thursday for lying to federal agents and could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. She was released on $50,000 bond pending her trial.
It takes a special kind of criminal to prey upon people already suffering through a terrible tragedy like the one in Connecticut. And while I’m glad one such loser has been discovered and apprehended, I know there will be more to come. Tragedies like this always bring out the best and the worst in people.
Thankfully, Connecticut U.S. Attorney David Fein is keeping a close eye on the situation and seems ready to pounce on any would-be scammers out there: “This arrest should serve as a warning to anyone who attempts to profit from this tragedy by contriving fraudulent schemes that exploit the many victims, their families and individuals who sincerely want to help.”
Good luck, Mr. Fein. Something tells me you’re going to need it…
Han died, of course. And now there has been another subway fatality.
On Thursday, a woman who was seen pacing a subway platform and mumbling to herself suddenly pushed 46-year-old Sunando Sen onto the tracks in front of an 11-car train as it entered the station.
Sen was pinned underneath the second car, but was likely dead before the train came to a complete stop.
New York police said on Saturday that the woman wanted in connection with this heinous crime had been apprehended and is currently in custody. Chief spokesman Paul Browne described the woman as being in her thirties and said she made statements that implicated herself in Sen’s death.
This makes twice in one month that someone has been pushed from a New York subway platform into an oncoming train. Since two times is all it takes to establish a pattern, and since we all know something like this is likely to happen again, I have two important pieces of advice for our friends in The Big Apple:
Find another way to travel, people. And if you must use the subway, please consider standing against the wall to wait for your train. At least that way you’ll have a fighting chance.
Face it. Some people are downright stupid.
I try not to use that word much and have been teaching my five-year-old son that it’s one of the bad words he should avoid, but we all know it’s true. Just as there are white people and black people and tall people and short people and smart people, there are dumb people, too.
Fortunately, none of them ever bother reading much, so I have no fear of offending them here.
The latest candidate for “Dumbass of the Week” is 45-year-old Kimberly Losurdo of Spring Hill, Florida.
Losurdo was arrested Thursday and charged with child abuse after a 9-year-old boy in her home went into a seizure and had to be rushed to the hospital. The boy had accidentally ingested some of her crack cocaine. He experienced flu-like symptoms and vomited for two days before she bothered to call for help.
About the only smart thing Losurdo did was admit to police that she smoked crack inside the home and that the boy must have mistaken a coke rock for candy. Now she’s sitting in jail on $5000 bond and the three children in her home have been removed by the state.
Congratulations on being as dumb as dirt, Kimberly Losurdo!
Once again, there is proof that the Christmas spirit of a few days ago is fading fast.
Diana Anderson is a single mother of two teenage boys in Carroll County, Kentucky. A week and a half ago, a fire broke out in her home and caused extensive damage. Initial reports indicated the fire was electrical and fortunately, it appeared as if a great deal could be salvaged.
Only it didn’t last.
Less than 48 hours later, another fire broke out in the once-baked home and incinerated everything that remained. Westside Fire Chief Clyde Rowlett believes that an accelerant was used, which would clearly indicate arson.
“My personal opinion is whoever did this didn’t get it the first time so they came back and made sure that they did. She’s a well loved individual,” Anderson’s sister Keneta May told reporters. “She doesn’t have an enemy in the world, you know, I’m in shock myself.”
Kentucky State Police continue to investigate the matter, but no arrests have been made to date.
I, for one, hope they catch whoever’s responsible for this horrendous crime, especially if this individual started both fires. Yes, it takes a real loser to set fire to the ashes of someone’s already burned home. But to set the initial fire, fall short of complete destruction and return to finish the job? That takes a special kind of lunatic, and we can’t have someone like that walking around freely, can we?
It would be nice if Christmas meant only love, fellowship, joy and happiness. Unfortunately, it also has a dark side because those who prefer evil to light see it as the perfect time to unleash hell.
Consider the recent experience of 44-year-old Miami resident Darrel Brackett.
Late Christmas night, Brackett and his girlfriend were driving home when their car ran out of gas. Brackett grabbed a container and walked to a nearby U-Gas station while she waited for him.
On the way back to the car, three unknown men approached Brackett and for whatever reason, decided to douse him in gasoline and burn him alive. And within full view of his girlfriend, too.
A woman passing by saw Brackett burning and immediately came to help, but he still suffered burns over 70% of his body and remains in critical condition.
Just before he passed out, Brackett asked only one question: “Why would somebody do this to me?”
The title of this article was actually a favorite quote of Thomas Doty, a young man from San Diego, California who passed away Saturday after a three-year battle with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
Although the prognosis for any kind of cancer is never good, the outlook for a rare form is that much worse. Doty had no illusions about the challenges ahead and possessed something that eludes many in similar situations: hope.
Unfortunately, it was hope that also hurt Doty in the end. You might even say it contributed to his death.
You see, Doty and his mother were expecting $250,000 from a generous donor, more than enough to afford several life-saving cancer treatments. The donor, a woman, contacted the family after their friend Jonathan Hillstrand asked his fans to help.
The donor claimed to be a nurse from Indiana and promised to send $250,000 immediately to help Doty, who was doing well at a Valley Center holistic facility at the time. Unfortunately, the money never arrived and all that followed were empty promises, lies and even harassment.
For whatever reason, the donor began sending vicious emails and posting outrageous rants on Facebook, all the while using several aliases. There were forged bank statements, endless text messages, phone calls and on a few occasions, fake and altered cashier’s checks.
Even Hillstrand was being stalked by this woman!
Sadly, the Doty family ceased their fundraising efforts when they thought a huge check was in the mail. And time ran out for Thomas this past weekend.
Doty’s mother has informed the police and FBI of this hoax and hired a lawyer so she can take the woman to court for intentionally inflicting emotional distress.
Hopefully they can find even more charges to slap on this sociopath. After all, we’re talking about someone who sought out desperate people, lied to them, harassed them, stalked them and put them through hell. And the culmination of this master plan?
Thomas Doty. Deceased.
And right before Christmas, too. Tragic…
Normally, this wouldn’t be all that exciting a discovery. But when you consider that 13 of the skulls were cone-shaped and looked like something out of a “Saturday Night Live” skit from the 1970s, things become more bizarre and mysterious.
There is a scientific explanation for the deformed heads, of course. More than 1000 years ago, a number of different societies practiced the ancient ritual of cranial deformation. Some examples include the Choctaw and Chinookan tribes of America.
Basically, these cultures would bind a person’s head between two blocks of wood and allow the applied pressure to shape their skull into a cone. This was normally used to convey some kind of social status or to distinguish between different groups.
At least that’s what they want you to believe.
What if these civilizations practiced cranial deformity to pay tribute to their gods? And what if these gods were actually cone-headed aliens who visited our planet and influenced ancient people around the world?
Since there are present-day tribes that elongate women’s necks, put large plates into their lips and practice all sorts of equally unusual rituals, it is possible the “ancient coneheads” were just doing their thing. It just seems a little strange to me since other cultures removed by thousands of miles also practiced this weird, skull-deforming tradition.
It was the aliens, I tell you. I’m sure of it…
Early Monday morning, firefighters in Webster, New York responded to a call and went to the home of 62-year-old William Spengler. The house and several others in the area were engulfed in flames when the men arrived and set out to control the blaze.
Suddenly, gunfire exploded and before the firefighters knew it, two of them were dead and two more were injured. An off-duty police officer happened upon the scene and used his car for cover, returning fire with the unknown gunman before sustaining some shrapnel injuries of his own.
When the gunfire stopped and the smoke finally cleared, police officers discovered the body of Spengler, the apparent shooter whose last violent act was to take his own life. The charred body of his live-in sister was later discovered in the house the two shared.
Investigators later found a note Spengler wrote and left at the scene. In it, he explained how he hoped to burn down the neighborhood and to “do what [he liked] doing best—killing people.”
Thus far, Spengler’s motive has not been discovered, but he is certainly no stranger to violent crime. In 1981, he was convicted of killing his grandmother with a hammer and oddly enough was released on supervised parole. Some speculate that this final criminal act was related to Spengler’s arrest all those years ago. Others think he lashed out at firefighters because of a donation his mother made to the local fire department before her death.
Of course, none of that matters since the only person who knew Spengler’s true motive was Spengler, and he took the coward’s way out.
The danger of copycat crimes springing up after a national tragedy like the one in Connecticut is always present. But this attack was much different because Spengler not only murdered first responders in cold blood; he set the fire that initially brought them to the scene. Spengler was a convicted killer who derived great pleasure and pride from murder.
It kind of makes you wonder how many other Spenglers are out there waiting to strike. Sociopaths seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days.
We all know that violence often begets more violence, so my question is this: How can we inject some peace into this increasingly violent world of ours?
If we can figure that out, then perhaps there is hope for the human race after all…