News of the Weird for Feb. 20, 2014

February 19, 2014 

Can’t Possibly Be True

– In February, a California Highway Patrol officer handcuffed and threatened to arrest a firefighter performing an emergency roadside rescue along Interstate 805 in Chula Vista, Calif., because the rescuer would not move his truck from the fast lane, where it was “impeding” traffic. Firefighters are required to block lanes during rescues, specifically to “impede” traffic for their own protection and that of victims nearby. CHP and the Chula Vista firefighters later jointly called the incident a “miscommunication.”

Unclear on the Concept

– In a December letter to the University of Minnesota president, a coalition of black student organizations demanded an end to racial profiling, especially in light of recent campus crime incidents. “(C)ampus safety should be of the (university’s) utmost importance,” they acknowledged, but among the organizations’ complaints was that when “be on the lookout” alerts were issued (usually based on victims’ descriptions of their attackers), innocent black students feel “discomforting,” “negative psychological effects” – because the alerts so often describe black attackers.

– Officials at the Emu Plains Correctional Center near Sydney, Australia, announced in January that they had pre-empted a planned escape by two female inmates, ages 32 and 21, after finding a 60-foot length of tied-together sheets in a cell. Nonetheless, the officials said they were puzzled, in that Emu Plains is a one-story facility, enclosed, wrote the Daily Telegraph, by a “not particularly high” fence.

Perspective

Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have made clear that only in the case of murder can a juvenile be given a life sentence “without possibility of parole” (and never a death sentence). Under-18s, the court said, must get a “meaningful opportunity” to mature and redeem themselves behind bars. The U.S. Constitution aside, apparently some Florida judges disagree and have subsequently sentenced juveniles to 50 years or longer for non-murders, in some cases assuring that the release date will be beyond the inmate’s natural life expectancy. In one case found by a Barry University law school program, a juvenile convicted of gun robbery and rape had his earlier life-without-parole sentence “reduced” to consecutive sentences totaling 170 years. Critics said the Supreme Court should recognize that some juveniles are already “thoroughly incorrigible.”

People With Issues

Christopher Pagano, 41, was finally arrested in January as police identified him as the man who had apparently been roaming the Mayfair neighborhood of Philadelphia for several weeks exposing his genitals while lovingly fondling a hunk of Swiss cheese (“cheese-accessorized” genitals, wrote a Philadelphia Daily News reporter). The case was broken when a 2012 victim recalled a “Swiss cheese pervert” in the Philadelphia area and searched for him on the Internet, locating a man who rhapsodized as much about cheese as about having sex. “I started to compare girls to cheese due to their milky (complexions),” the man (Pagano) wrote. “(G)irls are soft, smooth-feeling, and tend to like dairy products more.”

Least Competent Criminals

Perps Who Need to Be in a Different Line of Work: “Victim” Joseph Torrez, 27, was at home in Las Cruces, N.M., on New Year’s Day with his fiancee and young son when four men barged in (after threatening Torrez on the telephone with “I’m big Eastside,” “I’ll kill you and your family,” “I will go to your house”). Torrez is a mixed-martial arts fighter, and by the time it was over, he and his family were safe, but one home invader was dead, another was in the hospital, and the other two (including the telephoner) under arrest.

Readers’ Choice

(1) Ryan Bensen, 40, and Erica Manley, 37, were arrested in Seaside, Ore., in January, shortly after they expressed their gratitude to a waitress at the Twisted Fish by leaving, as a tip, a plastic bag of methamphetamine. (Police said Manley had still more in her purse when they searched her.) (2) A week apart in January, Pope Francis’ pair of “peace doves” released in Vatican City were almost immediately attacked by a seagull and a crow, and a 31-year-old nun in Rieti, Italy, “unaware” that she was pregnant, gave birth to a boy whom she named “Francis.” No details were released.

Visit Chuck Shepherd daily at NewsoftheWeird.blogspot.com or www.NewsoftheWeird.com. Send your Weird News to WeirdNewsTips@yahoo.com.

Weekly Surge is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service