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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

Police charged Johnny Lee Walker, 21, with shooting another man in Orange Park, Fla., after he left his cellphone at the scene of the crime. Investigators said the phone contained text messages about a $300 marijuana deal believed to be the motive for the shooting. “Sometimes it helps when the bad guys aren’t very smart,” Police Chief James Bolvin said. (Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union)

Police arrested Judy Weible, 61, after she called a sheriff’s deputy in Hinds County, Miss., and tried to sell him prescription painkillers. The deputy, thinking the call was a prank, hung up. The woman called back several times, and when the deputy ignored her calls, she started texting, offering to sell 30 pills for “$60 and some green.” Finally, the deputy alerted investigators, who set up a meeting. Explaining that Weible apparently reached the deputy by misdialing a number, sheriff’s official Jeff Scott said, “I cannot recall a situation where someone has called a narcotics officer and offered to sell them narcotics.” (Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger)

Revenge of the Dead

When bow hunter Edward Garcia came across a bear lying still on the ground north of Gardiner, Mont., he poked it with a knife to see if it was dead. It was, but the carcass was resting on some live electrical wires, which, when Garcia’s knife touched them, caused a shock that badly burned Garcia’s torso, head and hands. The Park County Sheriff’s Office reported that Garcia walked two miles to find help and was flown to a burn center in Salt Lake City. (Associated Press)

When Guns Are Outlawed

An unidentified man attacked a 57-year-old woman with a frozen armadillo, according to Dallas police, who said the attack occurred when the man tried to sell the armadillo to the woman. The two argued about the price, and the man threw the carcass at the woman twice, causing bruises to her leg and chest. (United Press International)

End With a Bang

An Alabama company is offering to turn the cremated ashes of hunters and gun enthusiasts into ammunition. “We know how strange it sounds to people who aren’t comfortable around guns, but for those who are, it’s not weird at all,” Thad Holmes, cofounder of Holy Smoke, said, noting that a pound of ashes fills about 250 shotgun shells. “People take ashes and spread them across lakes or forests or throw them in rivers, and nobody thinks twice about that. This is no different.” The service starts at $850. (Reuters)

Hands-Down Favorite

A British school that previously tried getting students to attract teachers’ attention by using colored signs instead of raising hands switched to having them raise their thumbs. Insisting the policy helps make the class environment “calmer and encourages quieter pupils to share ideas,” Cheryle Adams, head teacher at the Burlington Junior School in Bridlington, England, said it was no big deal and “something all the children have accepted.” Parent Dave Campleman disagreed, declaring, “Kids are used to putting their hands up. Being told to do something different just confuses them.” (United Press International)

His and Her Cars

Women are more likely to sustain injuries in a car accident because safety features are designed more with men in mind, according to a study based on a decade of data. Writing in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers Dipan Bose and Jeff Crandall of the University of Virginia and Maria Segui-Gomez of Spain’s Navarra University found, for example, that female drivers wearing seat belts were 47 percent likelier than men to suffer serious injury and that the positioning of head restraints fails to take into account how women’s necks differ from men’s in size and strength. The authors recommended that health policies and vehicle regulations tailor safety designs to women to assure “equity in injury reduction.” (Agence France-Presse)

How Socialized Medicine Works

When Doreen Wallace, 82, fell and broke her hip in the lobby of Ontario’s Greater Niagara General Hospital, she lay bleeding for almost 30 minutes before anyone from the hospital came to her aid. Even though she was only 50 yards from the emergency room, according to her son, two nurses came over and told her she would have to call an ambulance. One was dispatched from nearby St. Catherines. Before it arrived, an orthopedic surgeon noticed Wallace and, with the help of an assistant, moved her into a wheelchair. “It was horrible, it really was,” she said.

Last April, at the same hospital, 39-year-old Jennifer James died from a “catastrophic heart event” a few days after emergency room staff refused to help her in the parking lot when she lost consciousness and stopped breathing. They told her boyfriend to call 911 instead. (Toronto Star)

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Roland Sweet

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


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