A June 2016 police raid on David Jessen’s Fresno County (California) farmhouse caused a $150,000 mess when sheriff’s deputies and Clovis Police Department officers “rescued” it from a trespassing homeless man – with the massive destruction leading to Jessen’s lawsuit announced in March. The misdemeanant helped himself to an ice cream bar, some milk and half a tomato, but was otherwise “unarmed”; however, by the time the police standoff ended, the “crime scene” included more than 50 cop cars, a SWAT team (and backups), two helicopters, standby ambulances, a police robot, and a crisis negotiation team. Windows, walls and wrought-iron doors were destroyed; tear gas and a “flash bomb” were employed. (Jessen suspects that the farmhouse’s isolation enticed police to decide that it presented an excellent training opportunity.)
Jason Sexton told KFSM-TV in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in April that he alone had been digging the massive hole neighbors noticed, now 34 feet deep and with separate tunnels extending off of the main hole. Police had come to check it out, since it was on another person’s private property (and not the city’s, which Sexton had assumed). He said he had been digging off and on for three years to get an answer to whether “the Spanish” had been in Fort Smith centuries ago, mining iron, and, if so, the site should therefore be a lucrative tourist destination. Sexton said he felt he had to give his explanation: “Nobody in their right mind,” he said, “would dig a hole (this big) for no reason.”
▪ At a time of growing awareness that some people seem almost addicted to their cellphones and instant 24/7 communication, police in Brookfield, Wisconsin, released surveillance photos of a woman in the act of robbing banks on March 25 and 27 – while standing at teller counters and talking on the phone during the entire episodes. Acting on a tip from the photos, police arrested Sarah Kraus, 33, on March 28.
▪ Paul Perry Jr., 39, sound asleep behind the wheel of his car, with motor running, at 6 a.m. on April 2, was in no position to talk his way out of a DUI ticket, but did offer a gentle challenge to the Youngstown, Ohio, police officer. Several times, according to the police report, Perry offered to “thumb wrestle” the officer to get out of the ticket. From the report: “Perry was advised officers would not thumb-wrestle him.”
The Passing Parade
(1) In same-day competition in March, perennial Guinness Book records jockeys Zoe L’Amore and Ashrita Furman squared off over the record for stopping blades on an electric table fan the most times in one minute using only their tongues. On Italian TV, L’Amore stopped blades 32 times, but Furman, at a different venue, later stopped 35. (2) Norway unseated Denmark as the world’s “happiest” country, according to the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network. (There was no word on whether Denmark was unhappy about losing the top spot.)
In January, local government and sexual-assault critics unveiled a consciousness-raising exhibit on Mexico City’s trains: a plastic seat onto which is subtly molded contours of a male body, except with genitals sharply exposed. (Men supposedly have been spotted absentmindedly lowering themselves onto the seat only to leap up in shock.) A note on the floor by the body read (in Spanish): “It’s uncomfortable to sit here, but that’s nothing compared to the sexual violence suffered by women on their commute.”