MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 Hello readers, and thank you, Cienna Madrid, for filling this space in our absence. The week starts as it will end: with ridiculous violence. Our first setting: the Little Buckaroos Reading Roundup Literary Fair in Lodi, California, a pro-literacy event where many children learned about the pleasures of reading and one child wound up shooting a police officer with his own gun. Details come from CBS News, which reports today that the police officer appeared at the fair to show kids the SWAT truck and other police gear. Everything was reportedly fine at the August 24 event until a little kid approached the officer and pulled the trigger of the Glock stashed in the officer's thigh holster. "The bullet hit the officer's leg," reports CBS. "He was taken to the hospital for a minor injury and released." As for the shooter (whom witnesses place between 6 and 8 years of age), the police are looking for him. As Lieutenant Sierra Brucia told CBS: "Hopefully, speaking to the child and the child's parents to find out how they were able to get access to the officer's gun, what the child's intent may have been—we don't know if it was accidental or unintentional." (Confidential to Lieutenant Brucia: Those words are synonyms, and the child's "motives" seem the least of your worries. Good luck.)
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 Speaking of problematic accidents, the week continues in upstate New York, where a marijuana farmer who'd set up snares to protect his crop wound up killed by his own trap. As the New York Daily News reports today, "Daniel Ricketts was almost decapitated Saturday after he drunkenly drove his quad bike into barely visible thin piano wire strung up around his plantation in Berne, Albany County. The 50-year-old was thrown from his Honda Foreman, his head almost entirely severed from his body. Hikers spotted his lifeless corpse and called cops... Officers removed the plants from the property and are now continuing their investigation into the tragedy." (Confidential to the Daily News: "Lifeless corpse" is redundant.)
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 Nothing happened today, unless you count Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama's ongoing international tour to rally support for a war with Syria.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 The week continues in the Pacific Northwest, where this morning a motorcyclist was enjoying a ride along Interstate 5 through Chehalis when he was struck by lightning. Details come from a variety of sources starting with the Associated Press, which identifies the biker as a 59-year-old man from Tenino, who had just passed a car when the lightning struck. As witness Martin Zapalac told KOMO, both biker and bike suddenly "lit up," after which the biker pulled over to the side of the highway and Zapalac drove him to a nearby gas station. After being treated locally for burns to his ears, the biker was transported to a Seattle hospital and listed in stable condition. For a closing statement, we turn to Chehalis firefighter Steve Emrich, who told the Centralia Chronicle: "It is amazing he is alive, walking, talking, and didn't crash his motorcycle."
•• Meanwhile in San Antonio: After a battle that saw Christian extremists broadcasting fearmongering lies and city council member Elisa Chan caught on tape describing gay people as "disgusting," today the San Antonio City Council voted 8–3 to approve a nondiscrimination ordinance protecting San Antonio's LGBT citizens. "The newly passed ordinance amends sections of the city code that cover public accommodations, fair housing, city employment, city contracts, and appointments to city boards and commissions," reports DallasVoice.com. "The changes will take effect immediately." Congratulations San Antonio, and thank you Diego Bernal, the mix master/DJ who ran for San Antonio City Council, won a seat, and authored the ordinance that passed today. Celebrate with his wonderful For Corners, available for free download at diegobernal.bandcamp.com.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 In stupider news, the week continues with Kenneth Cole, the successful shoe designer who's repeatedly revealed himself to be one of the world's least successful users of social media. History buffs will recall 2011, when the bloody revolution in Egypt inspired Cole to tweet, "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online." ("Mr. Cole deleted his message and apologized on Facebook," the Daily Mail reminds us.) But no apologies have been forthcoming for Cole's latest Twitter idiocy, in which he attempted to use the tragedy unfolding in Syria as a whimsical bouncing-off point for selling shoes: "'Boots on the ground' or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps, and loafers. #Footwear," Cole tweeted yesterday afternoon. ("The phrase 'boots on the ground' is used by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry in regards to the controversial deployment of American troops on Syrian soil," explains the Daily Mail.) Cole's defense, as shared with the Daily Mail last night: "For 30 years I have used my platform in provocative ways to encourage a healthy dialogue about important issues, including HIV/AIDS, war, and homelessness," Cole wrote. "I'm well aware of the risks that come with this approach, and if this encourages further awareness and discussion about critical issues, then all the better." (Dear Kenneth Cole: The only thing your social media actions have encouraged is further awareness and discussion of your repellent self-absorption. Please pull your head out of your butt.)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 Speaking of failed jokes, the week continues in Longmont, Colorado, where an 18-year-old tried to jokingly prank a friend and wound up fatally shot. Details on the shooting that police called "unintended and extremely tragic" come from CBS, which says the scene played out around 8 p.m. last night after Premila Lal hid herself in a closet to surprise 21-year-old Nerrek Galley. "Family members said Lal and Galley were best friends and Lal... jumped out to scare Galley and he shot her after being startled," reports CBS. Lal was rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. Galley remains in Boulder County Jail on charges including reckless endangerment. Condolences to all.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 From a horrible fatal shooting, we move to a nonfatal stabbing. The victim of the stabbing: an unnamed 14-year-old boy who was tending a backyard bonfire at an Enumclaw house party when 21-year-old James Sweet stepped up to criticize the boy's fire. As Seattlepi.com reports, "The boy told Sweet the fire would be bigger if he tossed Sweet into it—a joke, according to charging papers—which prompted an angry response from Sweet." According to court papers, "Sweet told [the boy] that he should not mess with a Juggalo," referencing the ostensibly badass, white-faced fans of joke rappers Insane Clown Posse, to which the boy "responded jokingly, 'You mean those guys that wear makeup?'" Seattlepi.com continues: "Apparently outraged, Sweet went to his backpack, drew a knife, and stabbed the boy in the side of the chest, the detective told the court. Sweet then fled the area, and the boy was rushed to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center." Sweet has been charged with assault and remains jailed on $250,000 bail. The unnamed 14-year-old was treated for a lacerated liver and will live forever in Juggalo-mocking glory.