We have another example of school officials and prosecutors criminalizing a school prank this week to an absurd degree. Authorities in Arizona have charged Hunter Osborn, 19, with 69 counts of indecent exposures when, on a dare from a friend, he exposed himself during a football team picture. No one noticed and it was published in the yearbook. The response is to hit this kid with dozens of criminal counts in a matter that would have previously been dealt with a suspension or inner school sanction.
Police in Oregon have been seeking a landlord named Brooke Skoda-Kempton, 39, who stole a black 4-year-old whippet named Isis from her former tenant Kate Taylor, 30. After a public call for the whereabouts of Kempton, she turned herself in by pulling up to the police station in a stretch limo. Not exactly the entrance that most defense lawyers would suggest.
Just when you thought that Turkey could not get more frightening under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamic parties, you get a story like this one. Turkish lawmakers were debating Erdogan’s effort to adopt an Islamic constitution and further increase his authoritarian powers. A member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) sought to quote Oscar Wilde when members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) objected that they had no idea who Wilde is and thought he was quoting from the Oscar movie awards. When the meaning was made clear, these Erdogan drones objected that it was a reference from a Western source. Of course, as Wilde noted, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”
In an example of how religious fervor can overwhelm basic judgment, the residents of a remote Indonesia village called Kalupapi recently discovered what they believed to be an “angel” on a beach. They described a being of “shining white, (with) round eyes with red eyebrows” that was naked, crying and only clothed in a white cloth after descending from the heavens. Police seized what they said was far from angelic: a sex toy that was tossed over the side of a boat.
There is a deeply disturbing controversy out of one of South Africa. Ntokozo Qwabe is an Oxford student who has received incredible privileges as a Rhodes Scholar and looking at virtually limitless opportunities. However, when he and a friend went to eat recently, they refused to leave a tip for a waitress because she was white and instead left a note that reduced Ashleigh Schultz, 24, in tears. Qwabe, who has led a campaign to remove a Cecil Rhodes statue at Oxford, displayed not only his own racism but lack of humanity in the treatment of Schultz, particularly in posting a gleeful account of who he made Schultz cry “typical white tears.” He celebrated on line that he and his friend were “unable to stop smiling because something so black and wonderful had happened.”
The Kansas City Fire Department rescued a group of police officers stuck in an elevator recent and the opportunity was . . . well . . . too good to pass up. Before letting them out, firefighter Tony Pisciotta memorialized the moment and posted it on the fire department’s website.
You have likely been reading about the scandalous situation at our airports where TSA security points have created chokepoints due to a lack of planning and staffing in the latest failure of this agency. Thousands of passengers are missing their flights due to massive lines and the airports are now suggesting that people come THREE HOURS in advance. The reason is obvious incompetence in failing to plan for rising numbers of passengers and to properly staff security checkpoints. Yet, no one is being held accountable. The public is just again left paying billions to the government, which cannot meet the most basic obligations to the public. We no longer expect competence from our government.