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News Quirks (5/14/14) 

Curses, Foiled Again

Before three men who broke into a lingerie store in Houston, Texas, could steal anything, one with a revolver backed into another holding a rifle. Surveillance video showed the jolt caused the rifle to fire, "which then spooked the suspects," police Officer Jeff Brieden said. Believing they were being fired upon, both armed men opened fire, discharging nearly a dozen rounds, one of which went through a mannequin, before all three fled. (Houston's KHOU-TV)

Australian police investigating the murder of Russell Hammond, 49, arrested Gareth Giles, 26, after they found his 18-point, step-by-step plan detailing the perfect murder, written two months before Hammond's body was found. Supreme Court Justice Betty King said the murder plan corresponded with the actual killing in "a remarkable way." (International Business Times)

Life's Ironies

Former New York City police officer Gilberto Valle, 30, who was convicted of conspiring to kidnap, murder, cook and eat women, was assigned to cook for his fellow inmates at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center. The so-called cannibal cop earns 44 cents an hour making breakfast and lunch. (New York's Daily News)

After Brett Bouchard, 17, lost his right arm while cleaning a pasta-making machine at the restaurant where he worked in Massena, N.Y., the Elks Lodge raised money to help defray his medical bills by holding a pasta dinner. (Potsdam's North Country Now)

After Sir Young, 20, pleaded guilty to sexual assault in Dallas, Texas, he faced up to 20 years in prison. Instead, Dallas County District Judge Jeanine Howard ordered him to serve 45 days in jail and then "start 250 hours of Community Service at the Rape Crisis Center." (Dallas Observer)

Former Illinois State Rep. Keith Farnham, 66, who twice sponsored bills calling for tougher penalties for child pornography, was charged with possession of child porn. In addition, authorities linked Farnham's email account to an online forum where users chat about their sexual preference. "12 is about as old as I can handle," Farnham reportedly said in one chat. "I love them at 6, 7, 8." In another, he declared, "I wish I had access to all the vids and pics ever made." (Chicago Tribune)

After successfully campaigning for a stricter anti-gay law, Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa could be charged under that same law, according to Mbarara University of Science and Technology professor Paul Kaliisa. "Pastor Ssempa has, if anything, promoted homosexuality where he is allegedly trying to fight it," Kaliisa said, pointing out that Ssempa repeatedly screens gay porn to his congregation, ostensibly to show it is evil. "Very soon people are going to get used to the idea at some point, men can have sex with fellow men, and armed with the knowledge Ssempa has distributed, they will know exactly what to do." (Britain's Gay Star News)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Police accused Jeffrey Willard Wooten, 50, of robbing a Waffle House restaurant in Norcross, Ga., with a pitchfork, which he used to force workers into the back of the restaurant while he grabbed the cash register and ran. "It wouldn't be an offensive weapon in your garden," police Chief Warren Summers said, "but it was in a Waffle House." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Tangled Web

A 30-year-old employee at Japan's biggest travel agency forgot to order 11 buses for a high school outing, so the day before the trip he wrote a note purporting to be from a student threatening suicide unless the trip was canceled. He gave the note to the principal, who decided to go ahead with the excursion as planned. After no buses arrived the next morning, regulators from the Japan Tourism Agency raided the offices of JTB Corp, which promised to punish the worker. The school, meanwhile, rescheduled its trip with a different agency. (Agence France-Presse)

Sounds of Silence

Sales of gun silencers are booming, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which noted the market soared 37 percent in 2013, resulting in a nine-month backlog for ATF approval of registrations. Silencers, which sell for between $750 and $1,300, are just one way gun owners are accessorizing their firearms purchases, according to gun-industry analyst Ben Shim of CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn. Other popular add-ons are flashlights, laser scopes, stock, pistol grips and rail systems for attaching even more accessories. (CNN)

A new anti-noise law aimed at late-night revelers in Arlington County, Va., bans "wailing" after 2 a.m., and also yelling, shouting and screaming. The County Board pointed out it's the first in metro Washington, D.C., to target "over-conversation," or the human voice. "We're not Mayberry RFD," board member John Vihstadt said, "but we're not Manhattan on the Potomac either." (Washington Post)

Curses, Foiled Again

Before three men who broke into a lingerie store in Houston, Texas, could steal anything, one with a revolver backed into another holding a rifle. Surveillance video showed the jolt caused the rifle to fire, "which then spooked the suspects," police Officer Jeff Brieden said. Believing they were being fired upon, both armed men opened fire, discharging nearly a dozen rounds, one of which went through a mannequin, before all three fled. (Houston's KHOU-TV)

Australian police investigating the murder of Russell Hammond, 49, arrested Gareth Giles, 26, after they found his 18-point, step-by-step plan detailing the perfect murder, written two months before Hammond's body was found. Supreme Court Justice Betty King said the murder plan corresponded with the actual killing in "a remarkable way." (International Business Times)

Life's Ironies

Former New York City police officer Gilberto Valle, 30, who was convicted of conspiring to kidnap, murder, cook and eat women, was assigned to cook for his fellow inmates at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center. The so-called cannibal cop earns 44 cents an hour making breakfast and lunch. (New York's Daily News)

After Brett Bouchard, 17, lost his right arm while cleaning a pasta-making machine at the restaurant where he worked in Massena, N.Y., the Elks Lodge raised money to help defray his medical bills by holding a pasta dinner. (Potsdam's North Country Now)

After Sir Young, 20, pleaded guilty to sexual assault in Dallas, Texas, he faced up to 20 years in prison. Instead, Dallas County District Judge Jeanine Howard ordered him to serve 45 days in jail and then "start 250 hours of Community Service at the Rape Crisis Center." (Dallas Observer)

Former Illinois State Rep. Keith Farnham, 66, who twice sponsored bills calling for tougher penalties for child pornography, was charged with possession of child porn. In addition, authorities linked Farnham's email account to an online forum where users chat about their sexual preference. "12 is about as old as I can handle," Farnham reportedly said in one chat. "I love them at 6, 7, 8." In another, he declared, "I wish I had access to all the vids and pics ever made." (Chicago Tribune)

After successfully campaigning for a stricter anti-gay law, Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa could be charged under that same law, according to Mbarara University of Science and Technology professor Paul Kaliisa. "Pastor Ssempa has, if anything, promoted homosexuality where he is allegedly trying to fight it," Kaliisa said, pointing out that Ssempa repeatedly screens gay porn to his congregation, ostensibly to show it is evil. "Very soon people are going to get used to the idea at some point, men can have sex with fellow men, and armed with the knowledge Ssempa has distributed, they will know exactly what to do." (Britain's Gay Star News)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Police accused Jeffrey Willard Wooten, 50, of robbing a Waffle House restaurant in Norcross, Ga., with a pitchfork, which he used to force workers into the back of the restaurant while he grabbed the cash register and ran. "It wouldn't be an offensive weapon in your garden," police Chief Warren Summers said, "but it was in a Waffle House." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Tangled Web

A 30-year-old employee at Japan's biggest travel agency forgot to order 11 buses for a high school outing, so the day before the trip he wrote a note purporting to be from a student threatening suicide unless the trip was canceled. He gave the note to the principal, who decided to go ahead with the excursion as planned. After no buses arrived the next morning, regulators from the Japan Tourism Agency raided the offices of JTB Corp, which promised to punish the worker. The school, meanwhile, rescheduled its trip with a different agency. (Agence France-Presse)

Sounds of Silence

Sales of gun silencers are booming, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which noted the market soared 37 percent in 2013, resulting in a nine-month backlog for ATF approval of registrations. Silencers, which sell for between $750 and $1,300, are just one way gun owners are accessorizing their firearms purchases, according to gun-industry analyst Ben Shim of CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn. Other popular add-ons are flashlights, laser scopes, stock, pistol grips and rail systems for attaching even more accessories. (CNN)

A new anti-noise law aimed at late-night revelers in Arlington County, Va., bans "wailing" after 2 a.m., and also yelling, shouting and screaming. The County Board pointed out it's the first in metro Washington, D.C., to target "over-conversation," or the human voice. "We're not Mayberry RFD," board member John Vihstadt said, "but we're not Manhattan on the Potomac either." (Washington Post)

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Roland Sweet

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Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.

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