DARWIN AWARD CANDIDATES------------------------
1. BUXTON, N.C. A man died on a beach when an 8-foot-deep hole he haddug into the sand caved in as he sat inside it.
Beachgoers said Daniel Jones, 21, dug the hole for fun, or protection from the wind, and hadbeen sitting in a beach chair
at the bottom Thursday afternoon when it collapsed, burying him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach on the
Outer Banks used their hands and shovels, trying to claw their way to Jones, a resident of Woodbridge, Va., but could
not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment almost an hour to free him while about 200 people looked
on. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital. You just wouldn't believe the outpouring of concern, people digging with
their hands, using pails from kids," Dare County Sheriff Bert Austin said.
2. In February, Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc, Calif., as he fell face-first through the ceiling of a bicycle
shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the large flashlight he had placed in his mouth (to keep his hands free)
crammed against the base of his skull as he hit the floor.
3. According to police in Dahlonega, Ga., ROTC cadet Nick Berrena, 20, was stabbed to death in January by fellow
cadet Jeffrey Hoffman, 23, who was trying to prove that a knife could not penetrate the flak vest Berrena was wearing.
4. Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed in February in Selbyville, Del., as he won a bet with friends who said he would
not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger.
5. In February, according to police in Windsor, Ont., Daniel Kolta, 27, and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision,
thus earning a tie in the game of chicken they were playing with their snowmobiles.
6. In October, a 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran," according to his wife,
accidentally jogged off a 200-foot-high cliff on his daily run.
7. In September in Detroit, a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing headfirst
through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.
8. In September, a 7-year- old boy fell off a 100-foot-high bluff near Ozark, Ark., after he lost his grip swinging on a
cross that marked the spot where another person had fallen to his death in 1990.
DARWIN AWARD WANNA-BE'S
(1) In Guthrie, Okla., in October, Jason Heck tried to kill a millipede with a shot from his .22-caliber rifle, but the bullet
ricocheted off a rock near the hole and hit pal Antonio Martinez in the head, fracturing his skull.
(2) In Elyria, Ohio, in October, Martyn Eskins, attempting to clean out cobwebs in his basement, declined to use a
broom in favor of a propane torch and caused a fire that burned the first and second floors of his
(3) Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, N.J., in September, and his wife Bonnie was also injured,
by a quarter-stick of dynamite that blew up in their car. While driving around at 2a.m., the bored couple lit the
dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but they apparently failed to notice that the
window was closed.
(4) Taking "Amateur Night" Too Far: In Betulia, Colombia, annual festival in November includes five days of
amateur bullfighting. This year, no bull was killed, but dozens of matadors were injured, including one gored in
the head and one Bobbittized. Said one participant, "It's just one bull against [a town of] a thousand morons."
And a special Darwin Award candidate--------------------
"In retrospect, I admit it was unwise to try to gain access to my house via the cat flap," Gunther Burpus
admitted to reporters in Bremen, Germany. "I suppose that the reason they're called cat flaps, rather than
human flaps, is because they're too small for people, and perhaps I should have realized that." Burpus, a
forty-one year old gardener from Bremen,
was relating how he had become trapped in his own front door
for two days, after losing his house keys. "I got my head and shoulders through the flap, but became trapped
fast around the waist. At first, it all seemed rather amusing. I sang songs and told myself jokes. But then
I wanted to go to the lavatory. I began shouting for help, but my head was in the hallway so my screams were
muffled. After a few hours, a group of students approached me but, instead of helping, they removed my trousers
and pants, painted my buttocks bright blue, and stuck a daffodil between my cheeks. Then they placed a sign next
to me which said 'Germany resurgent, an essay in street art. Please give generously' and left me there." "People
were passing by and, when I asked for help, they just said 'very good! Very clever!' and threw coins into my trousers.
No one tried to free me. In fact, I only got free after two days because a dog started licking my private parts and an
old woman complained to the police. They came and cut me out, but arrested me as soon as I was freed. Luckily
they've now dropped the charges, but I collected over DM3,000 in my underpants, so the time wasn't entirely wasted."
45 year-old Amy Brasher was arrested in San
Antonio, Texas, after a mechanic reported to police that 18 packages of
marijuana were packed in the engine compartment of the car which she had brought to the mechanic for an oil change.
According to police, Brasher later said that she didn't realize that the mechanic would have to
raise the hood to change the oil.
Portsmouth, R.I.Police charged Gregory Rosa, 25, with a string of vending machine robberies in January when he:
1. fled from police inexplicably when they spotted him loitering around a vending machine and
2. later tried to post his $400 bail in coins.
Karen Lee Joachimi, 20, was arrested in Lake City, Florida, for robbery of a Howard
Johnson's motel. She was armed with only an electric chainsaw, which was not plugged in.
The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 7:50 am,
flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without
a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated,
James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described as a
"farm-type truck." Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could
ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found
Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft." [Kalamazoo Gazette, 4-1-95]
Same thing up here in MI. Seems some poor fella thought it would be a good idea to "move" a downed wire from
his car. Newspaper reports it took a FULL MINUTE of neighbors whacking away at him with a 2x4 to free their
freshly fried former friend from the fatal flashing. Bowling Green, Ohio, student Robert Ricketts, 19, had his head
bloodied when he was struck by a Conrail train. He told police he was trying to see how close to the moving train
he could place his head without getting hit.
In Wesley Chapel, Florida, Joseph Aaron, 20, was hit in the leg with pieces of the bullet he fired at the exhaust
pipe of his car. When repairing the car, he needed to bore a hole in the pipe. When he couldn't find a drill, he
tried to shoot a hole in it.
Polish farmer Krystof Azninski, who staked a strong claim to being Europe's most macho man by cutting off his
own head. Azninski, 30, had been drinking with friends when it was suggested they strip naked and play some "men's
games". Initially they hit each other over the head with frozen swedes [apparantly a kind of turnip], but then one
man seized a chainsaw and cut off the end of his foot. Not to be outdone, Azninski grabbed the saw and crying "Watch
this then!" swung at his own head and chopped it off. "It's funny," said one companion, "Cos when he was young he
put on his sister's underwear. But he died like a man."
1995 Darwin Winner (JATO) The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded into the side
of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was
a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. The lab finally figuredout what it was and what had happened.
It seems that a guy had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off - actually a solid fuel rocket) that is
used to give heavy military transport planes an extra "push" for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy
Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. Then he attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in,
got up some speed and fired off the JATO! The facts as best as coould be determined are that the operator of the 1967
Impala hit JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the prominent
scorched and melted asphalt at that location. The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5
seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20-25
seconds. The driver, soon to be pilot, most likely would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14
jocks under full afterburners, basically causing him to become insignificant for the remainder of the event. However, the
automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20) seconds before the driver applied and completely
melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an
additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.
Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable; however, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from
the crater and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.
Silly Stupid People Stories
Not really Darwin Award nominee's, but interestingly stupid stories.
Police in Wichita, Kansas, arrested a 22-year-old
man at an
airport hotel after he tried to pass two (counterfeit) $16 bills.
A man in Johannesburg, South Africa, shot his 49-year-old friend in the face, seriously wounding him, while the two
practiced shooting beer cans off each other's head.
A company trying to continue its five-year perfect safety record showed its workers a film aimed at encouraging the use
of safety goggles on the job. According to Industrial Machinery News, the film's depiction of gory industrial accidents was
so graphic that twenty-five workers suffered minor injuries in their rush to leave the screening room. Thirteen others
fainted, and one man required seven stitches after he cut his head falling off a chair while watching the film.
The Chico, California, City Council enacted a ban on nuclear weapons, setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating
one within city limits.
A bus carrying five passengers was hit by a car in St. Louis, but by the time police arrived on the scene, fourteen
pedestrians had boarded the bus and had begun to complain of whiplash injuries and back pain.
Swedish business consultant Ulf af Trolle labored 13 years on a book about Swedish economic solutions. He took the
250-page manuscript to be copied, only to have it reduced to 50,000 strips of paper in seconds when a worker confused
the copier with the shredder.
A convict broke out of jail in Washington D.C., then a few days later accompanied his girlfriend to her trial for robbery. At
lunch, he went out for a sandwich. She needed to see him, and thus had him paged. Police officers recognized his name and
arrested him as he returned to the courthouse in a car he had stolen over the lunch hour.
Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect by placinga metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires
to a photocopy machine. The message "He's lying" was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time
they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth. Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed.
When two service station attendants in Ionia, Michigan, refused to hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber,
the man threatened to call the police. They still refused, so the robber called the police and was arrested.
A Los Angeles man who later said he was "tired of walking," stole a steamroller and led police on a 5 mph chase
until an officer stepped aboard and brought the vehicle to a stop.
At the 1994 annual awards dinner given by the American Association for Forensic Science,
AAFS President Don Harper Mills astounded his audience in San Diego with the legal complications of a bizarre death.
"On 23 March 1994, the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun of the head.
The decedent had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide (he left a note indicating his despondency.)
As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, which killed him instantly. Neither the
shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety net had been erected at the eighth floor level to protect some window washers and
that Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide anyway because of this." "Ordinarily," Dr. Mills continued, "a person
who sets out to commit suicide ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended. That Opus was shot
on the way to certain death nine stories below probably would not have changed his mode of death from suicide to homicide. But the
fact that his suicidal intent would not have been successful caused the medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his hands.
"The room on the ninth floor whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing
and he was threatening her with the shotgun. He was so upset that, when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife and the
pellets went through the a window striking Opus. "When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty
of the murder of subject B. When confronted with this charge, the old man and his wife were both adamant that neither knew that the
shotgun was loaded. The old man said it was his long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no
intention to murder her - therefore, the killing of Opus appeared to be an accident. That is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.
"The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to
the fatal incident. "It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his
father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother. The case now
becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus. "There was an exquisite twist. "Further investigation
revealed that the son [Ronald Opus] had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's
murder. This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through a ninth story window.
"The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide."
San Jose Mercury News
An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot himself to death
when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.
Hickory Daily Record 12/21/92
Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C., when, awakening to the sound of a
ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith &Wesson .38 Special, which
discharged when he drew it to his ear.
Unknown, 25 March
A terrible diet and room with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas. There was
no mark on his body but autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system.His diet had consisted primarily of
beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods.It appears that the man died
in his sleep from breathing from the poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows
been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal. But the man was shut up in his near airtight bedroom. He was a big man with a
huge capacity for creating [this deadly gas]." Three of the rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.
Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario
Man slips, falls 23 stories to his death. A man cleaning a bird feeder on his balcony of his condominium apartment in this
Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death, police said Monday. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair
Sunday when the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer of the Peel regional police."It appears the chair moved and
he went over the balcony," Honer said."It's one of those freak accidents. No foul play is suspected."
Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his
shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto
Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law
students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers,
managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was"one of the best and
brightest" members of the 200-man association. [ed. note - I think this guy should win, not only because he removed some
incredibly stupid genes from the pool, but he also eliminated a lawyer in the process... :-]
(best and brightest? whatever does that say about the rest of them?)
AP, Cairo, Egypt, 31 Aug 1995
Calcutta, India - A tiger killed one man and mauled another at the Calcutta zoo yesterday when they tried to put a marigold
garland around its neck in a New Year's greeting. Prakesh Tiwari, the dead man, and Suresh Rai had been drinking before
they bought the floral garlands and crossed the moat around the tiger's enclosure, authorities said. "I was shocked to see
the two young men weaving about in front of a tiger with garlands in their hands, " said Rakesh Banerjee, who witnessed the
attack that triggered panic and a near stampede in the zoo. The men, both in their 20's, were trying to put the garland on a
13-year old male Royal Bengal tiger named "Shiva" after the Hindu god of destruction. When Rai threw the garland around
Shiva's neck, the tiger attacked him. His friend Tiwari intervened, kicking the tiger in the face. The tiger released Rai, and
attacked and killed Tiwari. "I saw it all; the tiger turned and jumped on the other young man and put its head on the man's
neck, and within moments, the man was apparently dead, his head dangling, " Banerjee said.
[31 August 1995, CAIRO, EGYPT (API)] Six people drowned Monday while
trying to rescue a chicken that had fallen into a
well in southern Egypt. An 18 year old farmer was first to descend into the 60-foot well. He drowned, apparently after an
undercurrent in the water pulled him down, police said. His sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well, went in
one by one to help him, but also drowned. Two elderly farmers then came to help, but they apparently were pulled by the
same undercurrent. The bodies of six were later pulled out of the well in the village of Nazlat Imara, 240 miles south of
Cairo. The chicken was also pulled out. It survived.
[Times of London]
A thief who sneaked into a hospital was scarred for life when he tried to get a suntan. After evading security staff at Odstock
Hospital in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and helping himself to doctor's paging devices, the thief spotted a vertical sunbed. He walked
into the unit and removed his clothes for a 45 minute tan. However, the high voltage UV machine at the hospital, which is
renowned for its treatment of burn victims, has a maximum dosage of 10 seconds. After lying on the bed for almost 300 times
the recommended maximum time, the man was covered in blisters. Hours later, when the pain of the burns became unbearable,
he went to Southampton General Hospital, 20 miles away, in Hampshire. Staff became suspicious because he was wearing a
doctor's coat. After tending his wounds, they called the police. Southampton police said, "This man broke into Odstock and
decided he fancied a quick suntan. Doctors say he is going to be scarred for life.
A contest was held for people to submit their theories on ANY subject.
Below are the winners:
4th RUNNER-UP (Subject:
If an infinite number of rednecks riding in an infinite number of pickup trucks fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds
at an infinite number of highway signs, they will eventually produce all the world's great literary works in Braille.
3rd RUNNER-UP (Subject:
Why Yawning Is Contagious: You yawn to equalize the pressure on your eardrums. This pressure change outside
your eardrums unbalances other people's ear pressures, so they then yawn to even it out.
2nd RUNNER-UP (Subject:
Communist China is technologically underdeveloped because they have no alphabet and therefore cannot use
acronyms to communicate technical ideas at a faster rate.
1st RUNNER-UP (Subject:
The earth may spin faster on its axis due to deforestation. Just as a figure skater's rate of spin increases when the
arms are brought in close to the body, the cutting of tall trees may cause our planet to spin dangerously fast.
HONORABLE MENTION (Subject:
The quantity of consonants in the English language is constant. If omitted in one place, they turn up in another. When a Bostonian "pahks his cah," the lost R's migrate southwest, causing a Texan to "warsh" his car and invest in"erl" wells.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER (Subject:
When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet, and when toast is dropped, it always lands buttered side down. It was
proposed to strap giant slabs of hot buttered toast to the back of a hundred tethered cats;the two opposing forces will
cause the cats to hover, spinning inches above the ground. Using the giant buttered toast/cat array, a high-speed monorail
could easily link New York with Chicago.
to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
so it ends up on the bottom.
except for one flavor: Mint Oreo.
wider than your thumb.
A group of rhinos is called a crash. A group of kangaroos is called a mob. A group of whales is called a pod. A group of
ravens is called a murder. A group of officers is called a mess. A group of larks is called an exaltation. A group of owls is
called a parliament.
The skipper's real name on Gilligan's Island is Jonas Grumby. It was mentioned once in the first episode on their radio's newscast about the wreck.
leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground,
the person died of natural causes.
hence the expression "to get fired."
WANTED FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER (The actual AP headline) Linda Burnett,
was visiting her inlaws, and while there went to a nearby supermarket to
pick up some groceries. Several people noticed her sitting in her car
with the windows rolled up and with her eyes closed, with both hands
behind the back of her head.
One customer who had been at the store for a while became concerned and
walked over to the car. He noticed that Linda's eyes were now open, and
she looked very strange. He asked her if she was okay, and Linda replied
that she'd been shot in the back of the head, and had been holding her
brains in for over an hour.
The man called the paramedics, who broke into the car because the doors
were locked and Linda refused to remove her hands from her head. When
they finally got in, they found that Linda had a wad of bread dough on
the back of her head.
A Pillsbury biscuit canister had exploded from the heat, making a loud
noise that sounded like a gunshot, and the wad of dough hit her in the
back of her head. When she reached back to find out what it was, she
felt the dough and thought it was her brains. She initially passed out,
but quickly recovered and tried to hold her brains in for over an hour
until someone noticed and came to her aid.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENTS CONTEST IN THE "NEW WOMAN MAGAZINE"
FOUR TOP WINNERS
1. While in line at the bank one
afternoon, my toddler decided to
release some pent-up energy and ran amok. I was finally able to grab
hold of her after receiving looks of disgust and annoyance from other patrons. I
told her that if she did not start behaving "right now", she would be
punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and said in a voice
just as threatening, "If you don't let me go right now, I will tell
I saw you kissing Daddy's pee-pee last night!" The silence was
after this enlightening exchange. Even the tellers stopped what they were
doing. I mustered up the last of my dignity and walked out of the bank with my
daughter in tow. The last thing I heard when the door closed behind me
were screams of laughter... Amy Richardson; Stafford, Virginia
2. It was the day before
my eighteenth birthday. I was living at home,
but my parents had gone out for the evening, so I invited my girlfriend
over for a romantic night alone. As we lay in bed after making love, we heard
the telephone ring downstairs. I suggested to my girlfriend that I give her
a piggyback ride to the phone. Since we didn't want to miss the
didn't have time to get dressed. When we got to the bottom of the
stairs, the lights suddenly came on and a whole crowd of people yelled,
"SURPRISE!!!" My entire family, aunts, uncles, Grandparents, cousins and
all my friends were standing there. My girlfriend and I were frozen
state of shock and embarrassment for what seemed like an eternity.
no one in my family has planned a surprise party again ... Tim Cahill; Poughkeepsie, New York
3. One of the funniest "most-embarrassing-moment"
stories I've come
upon in a long time was about a lady who picked up several items at a
discount store. When she finally got up to the checker, she learned
one of her items had no price tag. Imagine her embarrassment when the
checker got on the intercom and boomed out for all the store to
CHECK ON LANE THIRTEEN, TAMPAX, SUPERSIZE." That was bad enough, but
at the rear of the store apparently misunderstood the word "TAMPAX"
"THUMBTACKS." In a business like tone, a voice boomed back over the
intercom. "DO YOU WANT THE KIND YOU PUSH IN WITH YOUR THUMB OR THE
YOU POUND IN WITH A HAMMER ???"
4. A teacher noticed that a little
boy at the back of the class was
squirming around, scratching his crotch and not paying attention. She
went back to find out what was going on. He was quite embarrassed and
whispered that he had just recently been circumcised and he was quite itchy. The
teacher told him go down to the principal's office, he was to phone his
mother, and ask her what he should do about it. He did it and he
returned to the classroom, where he sat down in his seat. Suddenly, there was a
commotion at the back of the room. She went back to investigate only to
find him sitting at his desk with his penis hanging out. "I thought I told
you to call your mom." she screamed. "I did," he said, "and she told
me that if I could stick it out till noon, she'd come and pick me up from school ..."
Over breakfast one morning, a woman said to
her husband, "I bet you
don't know what day this is." "Of course I do," he indignantly answered,
going out the door to the office. At 10 AM, the doorbell rang and when
the woman opened the door, she was handed a box containing a dozen long
stemmed red roses. At 1 PM, a foil wrapped, two pound box of her
favorite chocolates arrived. Later, a boutique delivered a designer dress.
The woman couldn't wait for her husband to come home. "First the
flowers, then the chocolates and then the dress!" she exclaimed. "I've
never had a more wonderful Groundhog Day in my life!"
At the 1994 annual awards dinner given by the American Association forForensic Science,
AAFS president Don Harper Mills astounded his audience in San Diego with the legal complications of a bizarre death.
Here is the story: On 23 March 1994, the medical examiner viewed
the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died
from a shotgun wound to the head.
The decedent had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending
to commit suicide (he left a note indicating his
As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, which killed him instantly.
Neither the shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety net
had been erected at the eighth floor level to protect some window washers
and that Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide anyway because
of this. Ordinarily, Dr.
Mills continued, a person who sets out to commit suicide ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be
what he intended.
That Opus was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below
probably would not have changed his mode of death
from suicide to homicide.
But the fact that his suicidal intent would not have been successful
caused the medical examiner to feel that he had
a homicide on his hands.
The room on the ninth floor whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by and elderly man and his wife.
They were arguing and he was threatening her with the shotgun. He
was so upset that, when he pulled the trigger,
he completely missed his wife and pellets went through the window striking Opus.
When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt,
one is guilty of the murder of subject B. When
confronted with this charge, the old man and his wife were both adamant that neither knew that the shotgun was loaded.
The old man said it was his long standing habit to threaten his wife
with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to
murder her - therefore, the killing of Opus appeared to be an accident. That is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.
The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun approximately six
weeks prior to the fatal incident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son,
knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his
father would shoot his mother. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald
Opus. There was anexquisite twist.
Further investigation revealed that the son, one Ronald Opus, had
become increasingly despondent over the failure of
his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten storybuilding on March 23, only to be killed
by a shotgun blast through a ninth story window.
The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.
Subject: 1999 Darwin Nominations
These are the early nominees for the Darwin Award
(Survival of the Fittest, Natural Selection, yadda-yadda-yadda) for the year 1999. In the past, the prize has been
given to someone who died when a coke machine toppled onto him as he tried to steal a coke, and a guy who
strapped a takeoff assist rocket to his car that powered him into the side of a mountain. This year seems to be
off to agood start.
A 22-year-old Reston man was found dead yesterday after he tried to use those stretchy little ropes with hooks on
each end to bungee jump off a 70-foot railroad trestle, police said. Fairfax County (Virginia) police said Eric A.
Barcia, a fast-food worker, taped a bunch of these straps together, wrapped an end around one foot, anchored the
other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, jumped, and hit the pavement. Warren Carmichael, a police
spokesman, said investigators think Barcia was alone because his car was found nearby. "The length of the cord
that he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the ground," Carmichael said.
Police say the apparent cause of death was "major trauma."
LAUNCHED ON THE FOURTH OF JULY
Three young men in Oklahoma were enjoying the coming Fourth of July holiday and apparently wanted to test
fire some fireworks. Their only real problem was that their launch pad and seating arrangements were atop
several-hundred-thousand-gallon fuel distillation storage tank. Oddly enough, some fumes were ignited,
producing a fireball seen for many miles. They were launched several hundred feet into the air and were
found dead 250 yards from their respective seats.
DON'T ASK GOD TO PROVE HIMSELF, HE JUST MIGHT
A lawyer and two of his buddies were fishing on Caddo Lake in Texas. A lightning storm hit the lake and most
of the fisherman immediately headed for the shore. But not our friend the lawyer. He was alone on the rear of
his aluminum bass boat and his buddies were in the front. This guy stood up, spread his arms wide
(crucifixion style) and shouted: "HERE I AM LORD, LET ME HAVE IT!" God delivered. The other two
passengers on the boat survived and are said to have immediately joined the Ministry.
A man in Alabama died from rattlesnake bites. Big deal, you may say, but there's a twist here that makes
him a Darwin Award candidate. It seems he and a friend were playing catch with a rattlesnake. You can guess
what happened from here. The friend (doubtless a future Darwin Award candidate) was hospitalized.
THEY SAY THOSE THINGS WILL KILL YOU
Not much was given to me on this unlucky fellow, but he qualifies nonetheless. You see, there was a
gentleman from Korea who was killed by his cell phone, more or less. He was doing the usual "walking and
talking" when he walked into a tree and managed to somehow break his neck. Keep that in mind the next
time you decide to drive and dial at the same time.
GIMME A LIGHT!
In a west Texas town, employees in a medium-sized warehouse noticed the smell of a gas leak. Sensibly,
management evacuated the building, extinguishing all potential sources of ignition - lights, power, etc.
After the building had been evacuated, two technicians from the Gas Company were dispatched. Upon entering
the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark. To their frustration, none of the lights
worked. You guessed it. Witnesses later described the vision of one of the technicians reaching into his pocket,
and retrieving an object that resembled a lighter. Some pieces of the warehouse went three miles away. Nothing
was found of the technicians, but the lighter was virtually untouched by the explosion. The technician who is
suspected of causing the explosion had never been thought of as "the brightest bulb on the tree" by his peers.
.....And there's a lot of 1999 still to go!
2. A psychology student in New York rented out
her spare room to a carpenter in order to nag him constantly and study
reactions. After weeks of needling, he snapped and beat her repeatedly with an ax leaving her mentally retarded.
3. In 1992, Frank Perkins of Los Angeles made
an attempt on the world flagpole-sitting record. Suffering from the flu
down eight hours short of the 400 day record, his sponsor had gone bust, his girlfriend had left him and his phone and electricity
had been cut off.
4. A woman came home to find her husband in the
kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from
towards the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood by
the back door, breaking his arm in two places. Till that moment he had been happily listening to his Walkman.
5. Two animal rights protesters were protesting
at the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse in Bonn. Suddenly the
two thousand of them, escaped through a broken fence and stampeded, trampling the two hapless protesters to death.
And the capper.......
6. Iraqi terrorist, Khay Rahnajet, didn't pay
enough postage on a letter bomb. It came back with "return to sender" stamped
it. Forgetting it was the bomb, he opened it and was blown to bits.
Here's hoping your day is better than any of these.
last edited on 5-3-2003