Good Reason to Kill #47: More Than 20 Items in the Express Lane

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Look, it's not that difficult. The sign says "express lane" and the way that works is they limit the number of items each person can have. If everybody ignored that and took a bunch of items through the express lane, it wouldn't be an express lane, would it? IT WOULD JUST BE A REGULAR LANE. Or is it the number "20" that confuses you? Which part of "20" don't you understand? The two or the zero? Or is it when they are put together that your brain checks out? Ha, "checks out"—that's funny because you know what I'm not doing right now because you have more than 20 items? CHECKING OUT.

We don't know exactly what was said in the Walmart in Punta Gorda, Florida, on Saturday, in the express checkout lane, but we do know that it was mostly said by one person. Namely, a shopper with only three items who noticed a shopper in front of him with a number of items that looked suspiciously close to 20 (the posted limit). That shopper (hereinafter, "victim") said he noticed the other guy (hereinafter, "guy") counting each item as he placed it on the belt. "When the number of items exceeded 20," the guy "began yelling at the victim saying he couldn't use that register."

Up to this point, the guy was pretty much in the right, except maybe in terms of volume. Sign says 20 items. If people are waiting, at least, don't use that lane. We've probably all done this, of course, but we've also probably all hated it when somebody else did it. Because that's how that works.


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But when the victim yelled back, then things escalated. The guy then "intentionally pushed [his] shopping cart into the victim, injuring his elbow." That's battery, and because the victim was over 65 years of age (he was also in a motorized wheelchair because of knee surgery), it's felony battery. In Florida it apparently does not matter if the assailant is also over 65 (this guy is 77), it's still a felony to batter someone over that age.

Management escorted the guy out of the store, but he wasn't done, and came back inside "attempting to walk towards the victim with both fists raised." He was escorted out again and his role as enforcer then concluded. He was later arrested and charged with the felony.

This seems like a good time to briefly discuss what makes a Good Reason to Kill. Despite the name I gave this category, and I know this is a little confusing, ideally these are incidents in which nobody actually gets killed. They must involve violence or threatened violence, of course, but preferably no actual fatalities. That is mainly because I find that stories are generally less funny if they involve a death. Not that death can't be a real hoot, but its presence significantly raises the bar in terms of what other facts need to be present, in my view.

In fact, only four of the 47 Reasons to date, namely #1 (Used the Last Roll of Toilet Paper), #2 (Disputed Yahtzee Rules), #11 (Sang "My Way" Poorly) and #16 (Ate Popcorn Too Loudly During "Black Swan"), have actually involved homicides. Maybe I have gotten softer over the years, but also I still think the facts in each of those cases were more than sufficient. In general, though, I think a really good Reason to Kill generally does not involve an actual killing.

This is partly by way of explaining why this is #47 and not, for example, Wouldn't Stop Texting in a Theater, which many people forwarded to me this week. I guess I can't really say why I still find #16 hilarious, but this one not so much. Probably because #16 happened in Latvia, and so seems much more abstract (no offense to Latvians).

It's kind of a fine line here sometimes, I admit.