Cliche Come to Life

The Kerry, Ireland, county council voted in January to let some people drive drunk. The councillors reasoned that in the county’s isolated regions, some seniors live alone and need the camaraderie of the pub, but fear a DUI arrest on the way home. The councillors thus empowered police to issue DUI permits to those targeted drivers. Besides, reasoned the councillors, the area is so sparsely populated that such drivers never encounter anyone else on the road at night. (The councillors’ beneficence might also have been influenced, reported BBC News, by the fact that “several” of the five voting “yea” own pubs.) [BBC News, 1-22-2013]

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Can’t Possibly Be True

Spare the Waterboard, Spoil the Child: William Province, 42, was arrested in Jefferson County, Mont., in December and charged with waterboarding four boys, two of whom were his own sons, at his home in December. (Also in January, Kirill Bartashevitch, 52, was charged with making “terroristic” threats to his high-school-age daughter after he allegedly pointed his new AK-47 at her because her report card showed 2 B’s instead of all A’s. He said he had recently purchased the gun because he feared that President Obama intended to ban them.) [KXLF-TV (Butte), 12-20-2012] [St. Paul Pioneer-Press, 1-16-2012]

As if 9/11 and the resultant air travel restrictions had never happened, travelers for some reason continue to keep Transportation Security Administration agents busy at passengers’ carry-on bag searches. From a TSA weekly summary of confiscations in January: 33 handguns, eight stun guns and a serrated wire garrote. Among highlights from 2012: a live 40mm grenade, a live blasting cap, “seal bombs” and six pounds of black powder (with detonation cords and a timing fuse). [The TSA Blog (blog.tsa.gov), 1-11-2012]

A man with admittedly limited English skills went to a courthouse in Springfield, Mass., in December to address a traffic ticket, but somehow wound up on a jury trying Donald Campbell on two counts of assault. Officials said the man simply got in the wrong line and followed jurors into a room while the real sixth juror had mistakenly gone to another room. The jury, including the accidental juror, found Campbell guilty, but he was awarded a new trial when the mistake was discovered. [The Republican (Springfield), 12-13-2012]

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Redneck Chronicles (Tennessee Edition)

(1) Timothy Crabtree, 45, of Rogersville, was arrested in October and charged with stabbing his son, Brandon, 21, in an argument over who would get the last beer in the house. (2) Tricia Moody, 26, was charged with DUI in Knoxville in January after a 10-minute police chase. The officer’s report noted that Moody was still holding a cup of beer and apparently had not spilled any during the chase. (3) Jerry Poe, 62, was charged in a road-rage incident in Clinton on Black Friday after firing his handgun at a driver in front of him “to scare her into moving” faster, he said. (Poe said he had started at midnight at one Wal-Mart, waited in line unsuccessfully for five hours for a sale-priced stereo, and was on his way to another Wal-Mart. [Kingsport Times-News via KnoxNews.com (Knoxville), 10-16-2012] [Knoxville News Sentinel, 1-22-2013] [Knoxville News Sentinel, 11-26-2012]

In December, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed, through a public records check, that the appointed Collector of Revenue for St. Louis County has failed since 2008 to pay personal property taxes. Stacy Bailey and her husband owe taxes on three cars and in fact filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Bailey’s boss, Director of Revenue Eugene Leung, told the Dispatch that he had checked Bailey’s real-estate tax status but not personal property taxes. Nonetheless, he said, “Knowing what I know now, she’s still the most qualified person for the job,” among the 155 applicants. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12-13-2013]

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
People Different From Us

Julie Griffiths, 43, of Newcastle-Under-Lyme, England, received her first Anti-Social Behavior Order in 1999 for too loudly berating her husband, Norman (who one neighbor told the Daily Telegraph is “the sweetest man you could ever meet”). After many complaints (from neighbors, never from Norman), Griffiths was fined the equivalent of about $700 in 2010 and vowed to be quieter. The complaints hardly slowed, and in July 2012, environmental-health officials installed monitoring equipment next door and caught Griffiths venting at Norman 47 times in three months. However, the Stoke-on-Trent Magistrates Court merely issued a new, five-year ASBO. [Daily Telegraph, 12-20-2012]

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Readers’ Choice

(1) Recently, a 67-year-old woman set out to drive to a train station in Brussels, Belgium, 38 miles from her home to pick up a friend, but her GPS was broken, and she wound up three countries away, in Zagreb, Croatia, before she sought help. Drivers older than her have been similarly lost, but not to the extent of crossing five borders and passing road signs in three languages while traveling 900 miles. (She said only that she was “distracted.”) (2) In January, a 68-year-old Florida man got out of a van to open a garage door so that his friend could back in, but he left the van door open, and the driver’s dog leaped excitedly into the vehicle and landed on the gas pedal. The man was fatally crushed against the garage door. [Daily Mail (London), 1-14-2013] [Panama City News Herald, 1-15-2013]