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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

When two men, one of them armed, accosted a man on the front porch of his Atlanta home and ordered him to open the door, the resident told them he had money in his pocket. The robber with the gun placed it on the ground so he could search the victim’s pocket, whereupon the victim grabbed the gun and shot the robber at least twice, including once in the head. The gunman and his accomplice fled. (Atlanta’s WSB-TV)

Two men who kicked in the back door of a home in Marlboro County, S.C., were met by 89-year-old Ruby Hodge holding her .38-caliber pistol. “When they saw me standing in there with my pistol, they left and run,” she said, adding that she pressed the lifeline button hanging around her neck to summon sheriff’s deputies. After getting the license plate number of the getaway car from an eyewitness, deputies arrested Nelson Hawkins, 42, and Ronnie Stevenson, 31. (Florence’s WPDE-TV)

Sex Is Its Own Punishment

David and Mindi Rice, both 29, spent the evening at their home in Pasco County, Fla., injecting themselves with prescription drugs and having sex with a 24-year-old woman, according to sheriff’s deputies. They all fell asleep. When Mindi Rice awoke during the night, she found her husband having sex with their friend, but without her. She grabbed a loaded revolver, threatened to kill the woman and fired a round into the ceiling. David Rice grabbed the gun and threatened to kill his wife, firing a bullet that missed her head. Meanwhile, the younger woman called 911 and fled. When deputies arrived, the Rices refused to come outside, so a SWAT team was assembled. After a two-hour standoff, the couple came outside, but the husband fought with deputies, who shocked him with a Taser, and ran back inside. Negotiators finally talked him into surrendering. In addition to filing multiple charges, deputies found that Mindi Rice was on probation for stealing a credit card in 2011 so she could use it to bail her husband out of jail. (Tampa Bay Times)

How to Succeed in Business

Even though Somali piracy is lessening, the pirates are becoming more businesslike in their approach. They now have packets of paperwork with their own letterhead. An example, written in memo form and stamped with a skull and crossbones logo, was addressed to the owner of one seized ship. It begins: “welcome to Jamal’s Pirate Action Group (J.P.A.G.) and you have to follow by our law to return back your vessel and crew safely.” It sums up: “Do not imagine that we are making to you intimidation,” and concludes “Best regards,” followed by the signature of Jamal Faahiye, the General Commander of the Group.

An expert in ransom negotiations said it makes sense for Jamal and his colleagues to appear well organized. “They want to get their money,” Derek S.T. Baldwin of IBIS International said. “If they present themselves and behave as someone who will live up to their commitment to give us the package in good condition, we are much more likely to go ahead and pay the ransom easily and efficiently. If they present themselves as a non-structured group of disorganized loons, they stand an awful better chance of having an extraction team show up on their front porch and shoot them.” (Reuters)

Green Death

A Scottish company has installed two of its flameless cremation machines in Florida and Minnesota, and eight more states have passed legislation allowing their use. The Resomation machines dissolve the deceased in an alkaline solution, which is heated under pressure, reducing the body to skeletal remains in the form of a white powder that can be given to the family. Resomation Ltd., a Glasgow-based subsidiary of Co-operative Funeralcare claims the process produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, uses a seventh of the energy and allows for the complete separation of mercury-based dental amalgam for safe disposal. (BBC News)

Way to Go

Hoping to provoke a Bigfoot sighting by dressing up in a costume and standing alongside a highway outside Kalispell, Montana, Randy Lee Tenley, 44, died after a car hit him, knocking him into the middle of the road, where a second car ran over him. The drivers were two girls, ages 15 and 17. Noting that Tenley’s costume was a military-style “Ghillie suit,” consisting of strips of camouflage fabric, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Schneider observed, “He probably would not have been very easy to see at all.” (Associated Press)

Slightest Provocation

A woman drove to the police station in La Crosse, Wis., and told an officer she wanted to drop off her husband because he was “talking stupidly” and swearing. The husband, Johnnie Bolds, 53, had two outstanding warrants and was arrested. (La Crosse Tribune)

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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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