"I just shut my eyes," said Anthony Oliveri, who barely survived being run over last week, "and said, 'If this is the way that God wants to do it then I guess that this is the way we're going to do it.'"
Turns out that was the way God wanted to do it, according to the driver of the car that was running him over. In fact, she said God wanted to do it Himself.
As WANE News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) reported, the woman told police that God was personally responsible for the accident because she was just driving along and "out of nowhere God told her that He would take it from here and she let go of the wheel and let Him take it." The 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix hit Oliveri's motorcycle and ran over both bike and man. As he saw the tire approaching his head, Oliveri ironically submitted to the will of the same entity who was (allegedly) behind the wheel at the time.
And maybe that helped, because the wheel missed Oliveri's head and ran over his body instead. Oliveri suffered serious injuries including multiple broken ribs, but survived. His fiancé was quoted as saying that the bruise on his back was "shaped like angel wings," but the thing with the wheel frankly seems more helpful. I guess based on the conflicting evidence we have either a case of Old Testament driving or New Testament salvation. I'm not qualified to say which, but the latter seems much more likely.
When I say "Old Testament driving" I'm thinking of the time He told Moses to take a left even though the Canaanites were in the way. (I might not be remembering all the details there.) My recollection is that He delegates much of the kindlier stuff to His son, although the latter also sometimes gets upset with people. See Matthew 21:12; see also "Jesus Told Me to Ram That Car, Says Driver," Lowering the Bar (Dec. 3, 2008) (quoting man who said Jesus was upset with the other driver because she was "not driving like a Christian").
As Jonathan Turley writes today, "[t]here is obviously a torts case to be made here" at least against the car's human occupant. He cites the Breunigcase, in which the defendant also claimed that God had taken control of her car but was still found liable for negligence. That court held that the defendant could still be liable because she knew she could be subject to hallucinations and so should not have been driving at all. (She claimed she believed she could fly "because Batman does it," which shows the seriousness of her delusions because that dude can at best glide.) In Oliveri's case, so far I have seen no evidence that the driver had similar issues, just that she was taking Vicodin. But time will tell.
The Washington Post calls this "a unique approach to collecting evidence," and I guess that's one way to put it. The approach is to forcibly inject a 17-year-old boy with something that would cause an erection so they can take a picture of that to compare with the picture he allegedly texted to his girlfriend.
I'm not at a loss for words very often but just now I sat and stared at this report for a while.
It wasn't too hard to come up with things to say about the New Mexico cops who rummaged through a guy's colon for several hours, with an alleged doctor's help, looking for nonexistent drugs. That cost their employers $1.6 million, but I believe those cops are still on the job. Here, though, we have police and prosecutors insisting on a forced medical procedure involving the genitals of a 17-year-old boy whose "crime" is sending a picture of those to his girlfriend. And apparently oblivious to the irony involved in charging the kid with creating child pornography and then demanding a picture of his boner.
Just to be clear, the police have already taken pictures of his genitals in a (not surprisingly) unaroused state. They did that when they arrested him for his ever-so-heinous crime. But on July 1, when the case was set for trial, the boy's defense attorney said that prosecutors demanded her client plead guilty or else they would go get a warrant for evidence that would be more comparable to the texted photo. What do you mean? she asked. According to the attorney, the prosecutors replied that "we just take him down to the hospital, give him a shot and then take the pictures that we need."
Now sitting and staring at the screen again.
He declined to plead guilty—the charges could lead to incarceration and being listed as a sex offender for the rest of his life—and, incredibly, some judge actually gave them the warrant, according to this report. It hasn't been served yet, and a different judge granted a motion to let the boy leave the state to visit family before the warrant could be executed.
Maybe he shouldn't come back? Maybe he should ask for asylum, actually, because it sounds like law enforcement officials in Manassas and maybe all of Prince William County, Virginia, have gone completely insane.
Update: According to an AP report (thanks, Eric), the Manassas Police Department has decided not to pursue this idea any further and will let the search warrant expire. The report states that the department's spokesman "said he had no information on why the department no longer plans to pursue the photos," but I will go ahead and speculate it's because the department learned that most other human beings who learned of the plan were utterly revolted by it. Prince William County prosecutors and whoever signed this warrant should also be deeply ashamed, of course.
Oh, hey, I just noticed that Prince William County, which is just outside D.C., is considered part of the "National Capital Region" and therefore receives a share of the more than $50 million per year allocated to the NCR for "homeland security" purposes. Presumably that's because the government is concerned about a heightened risk of terrorism there, and that makes me wonder whether prosecuting minors for consensual sexting offenses should really be a priority for Prince William County.
[Okay, "consensual" might not be the right word, since the girl was only 15. Her parents certainly did not consent.]
My first thought was, "wow, the human race really is not evolving at all," and then I thought, "you know, it's laws like these that are partly to blame for that."
Back in the day, of course, human beings who thought it would be neat to hug or pet or maybe try to ride on a tiger, or any enormous carnivore, really, were swiftly removed from the gene pool, most likely well before they had a chance to breed more humans of that ilk. I assume, in fact, that scientists have proven that this exact scenario, repeated many thousands of times, is how we got to where we are today in the first place. After a while we sent the remaining dumbasses off to bunk with the Neanderthals, and away we went.
But today, these encounters mostly take place at circuses, county fairs, petting zoos, or as part of some other sort of exhibition in which the animal is somehow restrained or tranquilized in order to make it less likely to, let's say, devour someone who comes near it. These unfortunate restrictions on the animal have encouraged a trend that I have just now learned about (thanks to Tom and to the New York Post), one in which men have pictures taken of themselves snuggling with a tiger so that they can use said pictures in their dating profiles:
Yeah, come give "Kitty" a kiss for the next picture, dork. I promise you that one'll go viral.
This has become sufficiently common that there's an entire blog (or tumblr, anyway) devoted to it.
Any New York gentlemen wanting to get in on this should do so while they still can, because the legislature is on the verge of passing a bill that would make the practice of tiger selfies illegal. It does not use that term, nor is it limited to tigers, but that's the gist of it: The law would make it illegal for any person required to have a license under the federal Animal Welfare Act "to knowingly allow the public to have direct contact with a big cat."
"Big cat" is defined to mean any species of lion, tiger, leopard (except for clouded leopards), jaguar, mountain lion, or any hybrid of these; "direct contact" means "physical contact or proximity where physical contact is possible, including, but not limited to, allowing a photograph to be taken without a permanent physical barrier" between human and animal. Violating the law would result in a fine of $500 for a first offense or $1000 after that.
This is entirely the wrong approach.
I think we need to do one of two things: (1) make it illegal to cart these mostly rare and once dignified animals around at all; or (2) continue to allow it but only as long as the animals are kept alert, well armed, and slightly underfed.
Think about it. These people are using the pictures in dating profiles. This is exactly the situation in which the individual should either be proven fit by having successfully taken a selfie with a fully alert deadly predator through great strength, speed, and/or cunning; or else prevented from mating entirely by being eaten first. The race can start its slow upward trek again, animals get some of their dignity back, and we'll save tons of money on tiger feed. Also, think of the ratings.
Yes, I suppose women could achieve the same result by simply not mating with anyone who has a tiger selfie for his profile. They could. But I still think legislation is a good idea.
Update: as reader Justin points out, these are not technically "selfies"—or at least the one above is not, as a "selfie" is by definition a picture taken of oneself. I should not have aped the NY Post in using that term, especially since, now that I think about it, "New York to Ban Tiger Snuggling" (or "Tiger-Snuggling Portraits") seems better anyway. I'm going to leave it, though, because in fact the law does ban tiger selfies, it just goes beyond that to reach other kinds of man-tiger portrait interactions as well. I just wanted to clarify that detail.
Falcon, then six years old, was actually safe at home the whole time, although his father later insisted that wasn't true and that he and his wife only pleaded guilty because otherwise the government might have deported her. (Here's a press release from the Heenes' lawyers, making the deportation claim but notably not saying a word about the alleged balloon ride itself.) The fact that Falcon was not actually aboard the balloon when it landed would seem to prove the incident was a hoax, but I guess we can't rule out the possibility of a dramatic in-flight rescue by a superhero who has preferred to remain anonymous.
Also, Falcon spilled the beans while CNN was interviewing the family, but maybe that was part of the hero's cover story.
Anyway, the Denver Postreports (thanks, @davidfeeder) that at long last, that stupid, stupid saga has become a musical.
"It started as very brutal, biting satire with a seventh-grade mentality," said the musical's creator, 16-year-old Billy Reece, "but as it's progressed I've tried to make the characters more human." (Billy, you had me at "seventh-grade mentality.") The show's opener, "Follow Your Dream," recently won a prize for best student-created opening number, giving him the right to participate in a workshop to develop the musical further.
The Heenes followed their dream to Florida, once the couple served their brief jail sentences in Colorado, that is. Actually, I guess this was a different dream, judging from the fact that they have since been marketing the "Bear Scratch," a piece of wood that mounts on a wall so you can scratch your back on it ($19.99 or two pieces of wood for $29.99), and certain other inventions that at least cannot be less dumb than the balloon hoax was.
Also seeking fame: Falcon himself, apparently now a member of "Heene Boyz," which bills itself as "The World's Youngest Metal Band." Based on the music video for the band's song, "American Chili," they might want to give the balloon plan another try.