News of the Weird

Compelling Explanations

• In September, Charles Lawrence III, 60, was sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted sexual assault despite his claim that it was just bad eyesight that caused the problem. He had arrived at a house in Fairfield, Connecticut, to have sex with a male he had met online, but the event turned out to be a “To Catch a Predator” sting. Lawrence, an accountant, claimed that, in text messages with the “boy,” he had seen “18” as his age, when, according to police evidence, the text read “13.” (Bonus: Lawrence knew “Predator” newsman Chris Hansen socially and commuted daily on the train with him, according to Lawrence’s lawyer.) [Connecticut Post, 9-2- 2016]

 A 23-year-old woman on a bus in Istanbul, Turkey, was attacked by Abdullah Cakiroglu, 35, in September because, as he told police, he had become “aroused” by her wearing shorts. (Initially, he was not arrested, but after a protest on social media, police came to get him — though for “inciting,” not assault.) He told police, “I lost myself” because the woman had “disregarded the values of our country,” and “my spiritual side took over, and I kicked her in the face.” [The Independent (London), 9-22-2016]

Cultural Diversity

• The baseball-like “pesapallo” might be Finland’s national game, reported The New York Times in September, despite its differences from the American pastime. The ball is pitched to the batter — but vertically, by a pitcher standing next to the batter — and the batter runs the bases after hitting it, though not counterclockwise but zigzag style, to a base on the left, then one on the right, then back to the left. The game was invented in Finland in 1920 and has achieved minor notoriety, with teams from Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Australia vying for a “world cup” that so far none has been able to wrest from Finland. (Reassuringly, however, “three strikes” is an out in Finland, too.) [New York Times, 9-27-2016]

Police Report

 The War on Drugs: (1) In September, police in Thurmont, Maryland, announced the culmination of a two-month-long undercover drug operation at the Burger King with two arrests and a total seizure of 5 grams of marijuana and two morphine pills. (2) On Sept. 21, as part of a six-target raid using “military-type” helicopters by the Massachusetts State Police and the National Guard, drug warriors halted the criminal enterprise of Margaret Holcomb, 81, of Amherst, seizing the one and only marijuana plant in her yard that she had planned to harvest soon for relief of her arthritis and glaucoma. [Frederick News-Post, 9-28-2016] [Daily Hampshire Gazette, 9-30-2016

ν Brittany Carulli, 25, was arrested in Harrison Township, New Jersey, in October, charged with stealing a medic’s wallet from inside an ambulance. The medic had allowed Carulli in the ambulance to grieve over her boyfriend’s body after he was struck and killed by a car. [KJRH-TV (Tulsa), 10-6-2016] [WPVI-TV (Philadelphia), 10-3-2016]

Latest Religious Messages

  Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared Oct. 13 Oilfield Prayer Day to cap a statewide initiative of mass wishing for improved performance of the state’s energy industry, which has been in the doldrums recently with the worldwide drop in oil prices. Though the initiative’s founders, and the associated Oil Patch Chaplains, were largely Baptist church leaders, the governor emphasized that all religions should be praying for a more prosperous industry. [The Oklahoman, 10-1-2016]

News of the Weird Classic (Oct 2012)

  Eating Well on Death Row: (1) Condemned Ohio inmate Ronald Post, 53, asked a federal court in September (2012) to cancel his upcoming date with destiny on the ground that, after almost 30 years of prison food, he’s too fat to execute. At 480 pounds, “vein access” and other issues would cause his lethal injection to be “torturous.” (Update: He won the sentence-commutation, but he died in prison in 2013.) (2) British murderer-sadist Graham Fisher, 39, is locked up in a high security hospital in Berkshire, England, but he, too, has been eating well (at about 325 pounds). In August (2012), he was approved for gastric-band surgery paid for by Britain’s National Health Service at an estimated cost, including a private room for post-op recovery, of the equivalent of about $25,000. [Associated Press via Google News, 9-17-2012] [Daily Mail (London), 8-19-2012]