Tuesday, October 09, 2007


WTF is wrong with some people?

OK, for the most part, the answer to the subject question is “not much”, that most people are, in Douglas Adams’s words, “mostly harmless”. But then there are the ones who make the news, and more of them do it, with more frequency, than... well, than one would hope. Here’s a recent sampling, in roughly increasing order of disturbingness.

Water-balloon prank a bust

“I almost got hit by a water balloon,” Carr-Ballard, an employee at the Moler-Hollywood Beauty Academy on Sixth Street, said Friday.

So did others, police said after arresting three men for throwing water balloons off the top of an eight-story building at 130 E. Sixth St. and capturing the results of the prank on video.

Police think the balloons were aimed at people on the sidewalk who stopped to pick up a $1 bill that the men glued to the sidewalk.

We’ll start with the most benign of the incidents, throwing water balloons off an eight-story roof in Cincinnati. These guys obviously didn’t get through high school physics, nor read this blog entry. They didn’t realize how fast those things would be going when they hit, nor how badly they could hurt someone. But, um... aren’t they around ten years too old to be playing with water balloons anyway?

Vandal Punches Hole in a Monet in Paris

Intruders broke into the Musée d’Orsay early Sunday and one of them damaged a work by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet, the latest in a series of acts of vandalism and thefts at cultural sites in France.

Christine Albanel, the minister of culture, said the intruders left a tear close to four inches long in the painting “The Argenteuil Bridge,” from 1874.

I don’t get vandalism. I just don’t understand why it’s “fun” to damage someone else’s (or public) property. But damaging irreplaceable artwork just goes even farther beyond my comprehension. Oh, they “appeared drunk”; well, that explains it. In any case, they got away. The French minister of culture says that the painting can be restored; at least there’s that.

Arrest in Case of Homeless Man Set on Fire

The police arrested a 29-year-old man yesterday who is accused of setting a homeless man on fire in the Bronx, a crime initially attributed to three teenagers. The man, Israel Torres of the Bronx, was arrested and charged with attempted murder. The authorities say Mr. Torres spread and ignited flammable liquid on Felix Najera, 49, as he slept on cardboard in front of Bethany Christian Church on East 103rd Street early Friday. At first, the police reported that a witness had seen three youths approach Mr. Najera, with one starting the fire and another rifling through the victim’s pockets. Further investigation led instead to Mr. Torres. The police did not say what the motive was. Investigators said they now believe that the teenagers found the burning victim and ran away, afraid they would be blamed. Mr. Najera suffered extensive burns and remained in critical condition last night.
I’ve had a hard time deciding which is more disturbing between this and the next, and I’ve put this as the less disturbing, but only by a little. The police didn’t state a motive, but I look at this as an extreme form of vandalism, a truly bizarre prank. Abusing homeless people has become almost a sport here. That setting a person afire could be considered funny is very, very disturbing. It takes someone truly sick to do such a thing.

It’s also disturbing that the teens who “found the burning victim” would not have tried to help.

41 Arrested in New Jersey on Child Pornography Charges

The authorities have arrested 41 New Jersey residents, including students, construction workers and a high school volleyball referee, and charged them with sending videos over the Internet of children being raped, the state attorney general, Anne Milgram, said on Thursday.

The arrests, in 16 of the state’s 21 counties, were a result of a two-month investigation by law enforcement agencies led by the state police technology investigations unit, Ms. Milgram said.

I find this one the most disturbing because of the scope and the motivation. This isn’t a prank gone awry, not a lapse of judgement, not even just something terribly, callously mean-spirited. It’s disgusting. It’s sick. These people were found possessing and distributing “videos that ‘included graphic rape scenes,’ ” and they were men (except for one) of all ages and from all walks of life. One, who had the highest bail set for him, referees the girls’ volleyball team at a high school. And he likes to watch videos of little girls being raped. Think about that.

Really: think about it, though I know you don’t want to.

What kind of a sick mind gets enjoyment from watching something like that? I can’t imagine. But I see that those sick minds — at least the ones who just like to watch and didn’t distribute — will be back in our neighbourhoods in a year and a half, tops.

WTF is wrong with some people?


The Ridger, FCD said...

I think the teens who didn't help are completely explained by their fear that they'd be blamed for it. They were blamed for it - a witness actually said they set the fire - and it's likely they've had experience that would have led to believe they'd get charged.

Otherwise, I do have to agree with you.

Barry Leiba said...

I understand that, but I have to think that if it had been me, when I was a teen, I'd have rushed to help without a thought that "they'll think I did it!" It's sad that these teens have to take a different approach.

The article doesn't say, but I suspect that the teens who ran away are African-American, and their fear comes from experience that black teens are blamed for anything that goes wrong in their vicinity.

I think that's doubly sad — sad for them, and sad for the rest of us too.