The Week in Review
MONDAY, MAY 7 This week of convicted vegans, exonerated dachshunds, and venison-flavored vandalism kicks off today in Philadelphia and suburban New Jersey, where six men were arrested after 14 months of heavy surveillance suggested they were plotting a deadly attack on the military base at Fort Dix. Details come from the Associated Press, which reports tonight's bust was set in motion back in January 2006, when an attentive Circuit City clerk in New Jersey was approached by a customer looking to convert a video recording to DVD. After noticing the video featured footage of men shooting rifles at a remote firing range while shouting "Allah Akbar!" the Circuit City clerk alerted the FBI, which immediately began an intense investigation of the group behind the suspicious video—six men (four from the former Yugoslavia, one each from Turkey and Jordan) leading apparently normal lives as cabbies, pizza delivery men, and roofers. In March 2006, an FBI informant befriended the group's leader—22-year-old Mohamad Shnewer, who bragged about owning video of the 9/11 hijackers in training and asked the informant about obtaining AK-47s for an unspecified assault. "My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of soldiers," said Shnewer in a recorded conversation, revealing a plan to sneak into nearby Fort Dix with automatic weapons and kill as many U.S. service members as possible. After a winter of paintball training and firing-range practice, the group allegedly asked the informant to arrange a gun buy, and tonight, FBI agents posing as weapons sellers met all six members of the group at a group member's home. When the deal was consummated (over inoperable AK-47s), the six men were arrested, and tomorrow Shnewer, along with Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka, Shain Duka, Serdar Tatar, and Agron Abdullahu will be charged with conspiring to kill U.S. government employees. Props to the Circuit City hero and hurrah for Fort Dix's nonslaughtered soldiers.
TUESDAY, MAY 8 Speaking of mind-fucking homeland horror: The week continues with the exceedingly beguiling finding tonight outside of Tacoma's Pantages Theater, where police discovered a dead fawn dressed like a baby and left in a basket on the street. A spokesman for the Pierce County Humane Society told the Olympian that the dead baby deer's outfit included an infant sleeper and a bib that read, "You think I'm cute? You should see my aunt," while the presumably stillborn fawn's odor suggested death had come a while before.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9 Speaking of dead meat: Today in Atlanta, a vegan couple was sentenced to life in prison for the fatal malnourishment of their infant son. As the Associated Press reports, Crown Shakur, the 6-week-old son of 27-year-old Jade Sanders and 31-year-old Lamont Thomas, died of starvation in April 2004, weighing just 3.5 pounds at the time of his death thanks to a "vegan diet" consisting primarily of soy milk and apple juice. On May 2, a jury in Atlanta found Sanders and Thomas guilty of malice murder, felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, and cruelty to children, and today the failed parents learned they'll be spending the rest of their vegan lives in prison. Condolences to everyone.
THURSDAY, MAY 10 "I moved to Tokyo from Seattle about six weeks ago," writes Hot Tipper Nick. "I rapidly became inured to the nose picking and prodigious puking on the last trains leaving from party spots like Shibuya or Shinjiku, but this afternoon, waiting at the crowded train platform at Iidabashi station, I saw a salaryman shaving his face with an electric razor. What made this spectacle more engrossing was the fact that he was obsessively shaving his face over and over again. Even the normally unflappable Japanese commuters gave the man some room."
••Meanwhile in Seattle: "Today, I got my teeth cleaned at Wallingford Dental Arts," writes Hot Tipper Heather. "Upon examining my mouth, the dental hygienist made the brilliantly obvious remark that I do not floss regularly. She offered some suggestions as to how I might correct this anti-habit, and encouraged me to floss while riding Seattle Metro to school every morning. How can we judge public groomers when we know that professionals are encouraging their disgusting behavior? Anyway, I ended our conversation by explaining to her that anyone who flosses on the bus should be punched."
FRIDAY, MAY 11 As fans of horrifying accidents will recall, back on March 27, Last Days reported on the 5-week-old boy in Houston whose genitals had reportedly been torn off by the family's miniature dachshund. At the time of her infant son's emasculation, the boy's mother was nearby in a drug-induced stupor; after the attack, police, doctors, and Child Protective Services officials argued that the baby's injuries were not consistent with dog bites, as "the lacerations were too neat," and no blood or human tissue could be found anywhere on or in the dachshund. Today, everyone's worst suspicions were supported, as the boy's mother—25-year-old Katherine Nadal—was arrested and accused of mutilating the boy with a sharp instrument. Charged with injury to a child, Nadal is being held on $100,000 bail, while the exonerated dachshund has been released by authorities and adopted.
SATURDAY, MAY 12 Nothing happened today, unless you count the bike-riding hippie on a cell phone who cut a humungous fart in front of Hot Tipper Annie in North Tacoma's Proctor District. "I don't know if he was just shameless, or if he didn't think anyone would hear it," writes earwitness Annie (who describes the fart as "a total Bronx cheer"). "I wanted you to know that Last Days has eyes in the South Sound."
SUNDAY, MAY 13 The week ends with what will go down in history as the Mother's Day melee of 2007. The scene: the Golden Corral restaurant in Toledo, Ohio, which today was crowded with families out for a Mother's Day meal. The spark: a 1-year-old child, sitting in a high chair and screaming. What came next was described to the Toledo Blade by eyewitnesses: After repeatedly asking 24-year-old Sylvia Harris to quiet her screeching son, 56-year-old Christine Lewandowski shouted at the baby to "shut up," after which Ms. Harris allegedly began punching Ms. Lewandowski. Soon, others were swept up in the brawl, which lasted an estimated 10 minutes, involved flying chairs and tables and a dozen active participants, and necessitated the evacuation of roughly 100 customers and the closure of the restaurant for two hours. In the end, five alleged fighters were arrested on charges of assault, rioting, and inducing panic, and four others were taken to hospitals for minor injuries.
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