Last Days

The Week in Review

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MONDAY, OCTOBER 10 This week of expanding occupations and criminal insults kicks off with the latter, in Thailand, where an American citizen is facing up to 15 years in prison for insulting Thailand's monarchy. "Thailand has the world's toughest laws on lese-majesty—insulting the monarchy—and many of its people regard King Bhumibol Adulyadej as almost divine," reports the Guardian. "Criticism of the lese-majesty law is taboo, as is public disclosure of the nature of an alleged offence. Local media rarely report arrests or convictions related to royal insults." All of which creates a world of trouble for Lerpong Wichaikhammat, the 55-year-old man with dual Thai-American citizenship charged with using the internet to disseminate information that insults or threatens the monarchy. Specifically, Wichaikhammat was accused of posting a translation of an article (the subject of which is unknown; see lese-majesty specifics above) and providing a web link to a biography of King Bhumibol that is banned in Thailand. After denying the charges at the time of his arrest, today Wichaikhammat pleaded guilty, for which he faces a decade and a half in Thai prison. "I plead guilty because no one can win the case," said Wichaikhammat to journalists. "I have no chance. I want the American government to help release me. This is a case of freedom of expression."

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11 The week continues with the expanding occupation of Seattle's Westlake Center and various other civic centers around the United States and the world. All of this is covered starting on page 17, so Last Days will instead devote today's item to those Seattle citizens who opted out of the Occupy Seattle protests in favor of playing with guns, and wound up shot. The day's first accidental shooter/shootee is a 17-year-old boy who called his mother around 7:45 a.m. to report that he'd been shot at a South Seattle bus stop. "The teen's mother called 911 to report her son had been shot and was waiting at an intersection for aid," reports But when officers arrived, they "learned that the teen actually shot himself while aboard the bus," reports KIRO. "They searched the area and found the gun. The teen may be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm."

• The day's second blast of ironic gun trouble took place in North Seattle, where police responded to a call about an accidental shooting at a residence on North 96th Street around 4:30 p.m. "The initial report from police was that the 27-year-old man had shot himself in the buttocks," reports, but this report quickly proved to be myth. As Detective Jeff Kappel explained in his official statement, the 27-year-old man and his indeterminately aged father were sitting in the living room comparing handguns when things went wrong. "The father had just finished showing his son how to properly make his gun safe and was about to hand the gun to the son when the father pulled the trigger," said Kappel. "The gun discharged and a bullet struck the son in the upper thigh and buttocks area." The shot son was taken to Harborview with non-life-threatening injuries.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12 In much better news, today brings a bracing blast of actual human progress, courtesy of John Smid, the former leader of the pray-away-the-gay ministry Love in Action, who took to the internet to repent of his formerly bigoted views. As Dave Rattigan of Ex-Gay Watch writes, "The former leader of Exodus International's oldest ministry says you can't repent of homosexuality—and he now publicly admits he is homosexual himself. Writing on the website of his new ministry, Grace Rivers, Smid says being homosexual is an intrinsic part of a person's being, not a behaviour he can repent from." Smid's own words: "One cannot repent of something that is unchangeable. I have gone through a tremendous amount of grief over the many years that I spoke of change, repentance, reorientation and such, when, barring some kind of miracle, none of this can occur with homosexuality... Actually I've never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual." Congratulations, Mr. Smid, and good luck with your karma-mandated decade of rectifying your past wrongs.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13 Speaking of revolutionary growth: Today brought news of the escape of one of the wives of Warren Jeffs, the polygamist leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who's currently serving a life sentence in prison for child rape. As ABC News reports, "One of the wives of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has escaped the confines of the isolated Arizona community where his 85 other wives live... Arizona authorities have said that the 25-year-old woman who fled is now undergoing counseling and psychiatric care at a women's shelter. She was reportedly barefoot when she was found." Congratulations and good luck, escaped wife.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14 The week continues with a sentence Last Days has been hungry to type since 2008: Billy Chambers is going to prison. As regular readers will recall, Chambers was one of three teens convicted of the 2008 killing of Edward "Tuba Man" McMichael, for which the 15-year-old Chambers was sentenced to nine months in juvenile detention. Since then, reminds us, "he's been convicted of theft twice, and arrested on suspicion of robbery, assault and unlawful bus conduct." Which brings us to today, when the now-18-year-old Chambers was sentenced to 22 months in prison for attempted second-degree assault and hit-and-run charges after intentionally and repeatedly ramming his car into a car being driven by a woman he suspected of reporting him to police. This afternoon, King County Superior Court judge Joan DuBuque sentenced Chambers to the maximum available prison term of just under two years. Let's never speak of him again (unless he turns his life around and ends up developing a cure for something or something).

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15 The week continues with two perennial Last Days subjects: bear maulings and child abuse, which were horrifically combined this week at the Toronto Zoo, where a 10-year-old polar bear named Aurora gave birth to premature triplets, then attacked them, fatally mauling two of the three new cubs. "The surviving male is still being surveyed around the clock and will be hand-raised," reports the Globe and Mail. "Aurora is still on display, along with the zoo's two other polar bears."

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16 Nothing happened today, unless you count the fatal house fire that killed a man on Seattle's Capitol Hill, the fatal car crash that killed race-car celebrity Dan Wheldon in Las Vegas, or the nonfatal but sad news of the split of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, the Sonic Youth bandmates who've provided a model for alterna-marriage since 1984. recommended

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Warren Jeffs should be locked up! Stop the crazy!!!!

Bears are attacking their own now?!?

And I hear radio evangelist doomsayer, Harold Camping, says the World's Last Day THIS time is supposedly this Friday. Buy your LOTTO tickets NOW!!!
Well, at least I've enjoyed one really good meal over the last three days....
and I'll be laughing my ass off--AGAIN!!----if I wake up on Saturday morning and all---SURPRISE!!!---is still well.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 19, 2011 at 1:40 PM · Report this
freesandbags 2
The King of Thailand is a HUUUUGE jackass!! Suck on a soggy Bangcock. Pray the scams away. Maybe mama bear found out that humans get away with it all the time. @1 jeffs is in for life.
Posted by freesandbags on October 19, 2011 at 8:35 PM · Report this
@2 freesandbags: Thanks for the clarification about insaniac Jeffs. I missed that part. But get the escapee and the other 85 wives outta that nutcase community altogether!!
I'll bet mama bear's pissed that they've lost most of their natural habitat to humans, too.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 19, 2011 at 9:12 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 4
@1 Animals in captivity are notorious for mistreating their young. Zoo animals are by & large neurotic, if not totally crazy. Captivity does that to you. Enjoy your next visit to the animal prison. Uh, I mean zoo.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on October 19, 2011 at 10:03 PM · Report this
@4: I agree---I'm all for wildlife staying wild. Unfortunately, a lot of it is taken up by humans. Deer are getting hit by cars on I-5 and in the neighborhood where I live. It's sad.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 20, 2011 at 12:17 PM · Report this
I think the bear's life is so miserable, that it doesn't want to inflict that on it's young. It would rather see them dead.

It's time for Zoos to go the way of VHS. We can get a much better view of an animal on digital media, in it's own habitat and without robbing it of it's life. The scientific purposes zoos serve can be folded into University programs, and the spectacle should be let go.
Posted by NotFromPETAButStill on October 21, 2011 at 7:15 AM · Report this
@6: Agreed! Although I remember enjoying visiting Woodland Park Zoo as a child (always a fan of the big cats), and later, the San Diego Zoo while in the navy, you make some very good points, too. Keep wildlife wild!!

Yesterday, a hungry young buck came ambling down a side street alleyway, into the parking lot of our apartment complex, salivating over the landscaping. Urban deer walk amongst us humans now.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 21, 2011 at 1:03 PM · Report this
If you know something is illegal in a particular country, and you do it anyway, why are we supposed to have sympathy for you? Granted, you sometimes have to break laws to get them changed, but you'd better have more people behind you that just hoping the government of your other residential country will step in. Much like the teen who was to be caned for painting graffiti and expected his government to go into a foreign country and basically say, "you can't do that to one of OUR citizens", I can see why other countries don't like Americans...they think they can just go anywhere, and only America's rules and laws apply to them, and they are not beholden to anyone else's laws.
Posted by cattycat on October 22, 2011 at 1:27 AM · Report this
Did anyone notice upon waking up this morning, on Saturday, October 22nd, that the world DIDN'T end??

So much for radio evangelist, Reverend Camping's prediction about the world ending on May--OOPS!!---mmmppphhh!!!---"Friday, October 21st, 2011---leave your worldly possessions at the door."
I wonder what this old guy's next media-hyped "World Will End" doomsday prediction will be? April 1, 2012 gets my vote.

Did anyone see the much more likely meteor shower yesterday?
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM · Report this

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