MONDAY, APRIL 8 This week of great and terrible American tropes (dumb celebrities! Soulless scammers! Deadly gun violence!) kicks off in the United Kingdom, where today Margaret Thatcher—Britain's first female prime minister, who served between 1979 and 1990—died at the age of 87. News of Thatcher's death inspired a wealth of stolid prose noting her career accomplishments, including waging and winning the Falklands War, privatizing the British economy, and forbidding the mention of homosexuality in British schools. But such stately memorializing was vociferously opposed by the many people who were happy to see Thatcher dead. "Almost everything that's wrong with Britain today is her legacy," former mayor of London Ken Livingstone told Sky News. "She created today's housing crisis, she produced the banking crisis, she created the benefits crisis... every real problem we face today is the legacy of the fact she was fundamentally wrong." By week's end, the classic Wizard of Oz song "Ding Dong (the Witch Is Dead)"—adopted as a celebratory anthem by Thatcher's opponents—will hit number two on the British pop-music chart. RIP, Margaret Thatcher.
TUESDAY, APRIL 9 In worse news, the week continues in New Jersey, where today a 6-year-old boy was pronounced dead after being shot in the head by a rifle-wielding 4-year-old. Meanwhile in South Carolina, a 3-year-old boy was pronounced dead after finding a loaded gun in a relative's apartment and fatally shooting himself. Today's tragedies follow similar events in Tennessee, where this past weekend a 4-year-old found a loaded gun at a family cookout and fatally shot the wife of a sheriff's deputy, and a 2-year-old boy nonfatally shot his sleeping mother with a gun he found under her pillow.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10 Speaking of stories that make one question humanity's ability to not suck, the week continues in New York, where today a 21-year-old Long Island woman was indicted on charges of forgery, grand larceny, and a scheme to defraud after allegedly raising tens of thousands of dollars for expensive cancer treatments that were actually just heroin. "Brittany Ozarowski, 21, of Long Island, allegedly scammed donors for at least 13 months," reports ABC News. "She collected money from donation jars at small businesses and fundraising events created in her name. She allegedly even conned her family and set up a website, brittanyozarowski.com, which claimed she had bone, brain, ovarian, stomach, and thyroid cancer, and that 'treatments are about $33,000 each day.'" But as Suffolk County district attorney Thomas Spota told reporters: "There was no cancer, there was no chemotherapy, there was no radiation. The only thing that there was, was heroin and more heroin." (Extra upsetting detail from ABC: "Ozarowski's father cashed in his 401(k), and her grandmother sold a home in Selden, NY, to pay for treatments, Spota said.") Tomorrow, Ozarowski will plead not guilty to the charges and be ordered held on $75,000 bail.
THURSDAY, APRIL 11 Nothing happened today, unless you count the 57-year-old Kirkland woman who was charged with stalking Clay Aiken after being found peeking in the windows of the singer's North Carolina home, or the $33,000 reward being offered to whoever identifies the drive-by shooter of a circus elephant in Mississippi. "Carol, a 39-year-old Asian elephant, was hit in the shoulder in Tupelo by a shot fired from a passing vehicle," reports Reuters. "The shooting has been deemed a federal offense because the Asian elephant is an endangered species." (Carol is fine, or at least as fine as an elephant employed by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus can be.)
FRIDAY, APRIL 12 In worse news, the week continues in Seattle, where today KING 5 News obtained surveillance video capturing the final moments of Mauriceo Bell, the 42-year-old Seattle man who died last Sunday morning in the downtown Metro bus tunnel, where he'd fallen on a moving escalator and was strangled by his clothes. "Surveillance shows him staggering, leaning on the rail for support, and towards the bottom, falling backwards," reports KING 5. "Bell died at the bottom of the escalator, strangled by his own clothing." Important fact #1: "KING 5 has found that particular escalator was not up-to-date on repairs and maintenance... Checking inspection reports on the state Labor & Industries website, it appears Metro owns and operates 78 escalators and elevators. In almost every case, the reports show required repairs not completed and boxes that would signify the work has been done not checked off. Some are weeks overdue, some months overdue. Some go back to 2011. KING 5 found only four out of 78 appeared to be up to date." Important fact #2: "Bell was a father of four and 'a good standup father,' his younger brother says, despite having a long record of run-ins with the law, mostly drug related," reports KING 5, acknowledging that police found a half-empty brandy bottle in Bell's back pocket. "But [Bell's brother] has a message to anybody jumping to conclusions about Bell's character or the circumstances of his death. 'No matter what you say about him, he paid taxes, too. He should have been able to trust his transit system,' he said. 'And isn't that what we're supposed to do if we're inebriated? Take the bus home? Take transit?'"
SATURDAY, APRIL 13 Nothing happened today, unless you count NASCAR's NRA 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway, the "first NRA-branded race in NASCAR's premier series," as the Associated Press reports, where a 42-year-old fan celebrated the day by fatally shooting himself in the head on the racetrack's infield. Congratulations on a successful first event, NASCAR/NRA.
SUNDAY, APRIL 14 Speaking of North American doofuses, the week ends with Justin Bieber, the Canadian-born international pop superstar millionaire teenage pothead (allegedly!), who spent today getting pummeled in cyberspace after spending yesterday visiting Amsterdam's Anne Frank House. Bieber toured the home where Frank and her family spent two years hiding in the attic from Nazis, then signed the guest book: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber." For those who don't know, a "belieber" is a die-hard fan of Justin Bieber, and Justin Bieber is a stupid kid who wrote something stupid in a guest book. And while Bieber's narcissistic scribble is indeed lamentable, it will be more than made up for by Justin Bieber's forthcoming years of psychodramatic freak-outs, which should make late-period Michael Jackson look like the Dalai Lama.