Dateline: Canada—Police in a Vancouver suburb are reminding residents that it's not a good idea to play with a loaded handgun while sitting on the can after a man accidentally shot himself in the bathroom. The unnamed 21-year-old North Vancouver man is facing numerous weapons charges after he shot off one of his own fingers while playing with the gun on New Year's Day. In a public statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted police said, “Perhaps our mothers never explained to us that it was not a good idea to play with handguns whilst using the restroom. But, then again, maybe that was supposed to be a given.”
Dateline: Mexico—A least one of the vandals who broke into a Mexican elementary school over the Christmas holidays was thoughtful enough to leave mugshot at the scene of the crime. In addition to smashing chairs and tearing books at the school in the northern city of Monterrey, the vandals toyed with the school's copy machine. A black-and-white photocopy of the squashed face and hands of a young boy was found in the machine and broadcast on Mexican television last Tuesday. Headmistress Maria del Rosario Gomez told Televisa news this was the third time the school has been vandalized, and said some of her own pupils were likely to blame.
Dateline: Minnesota—Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey used this last Friday the 13th to launched his gubernatorial campaign in Princeton, Minn. The self-described “satanic dark priest” and leader of the “Vampyres, Witches and Pagans Party” paid the $300 filing fee and is now an official candidate for governor of Minnesota. Sharkey's 13-point platform is detailed on his extensive website (www.jonathonforgovernor.us) and includes an emphasis on education, tax breaks for farmers and a pledge to execute--by impalement on the the steps of the State Capitol--terrorists, rapists, drug dealers, child abusers, repeat drunk drivers and anyone who preys on the elderly. “I'm going to be totally open and honest,” Sharkey told the Star Tribune. “Unlike other candidates, I'm not going to hide my evil side.” In addition to being a satanic priest, Sharkey claims to be a “sanguinary vampyre”--although he says he only sucks blood from the neck of his wife.
Dateline: Missouri—A Missouri high school student who was kicked out of a school dance for wearing a traditional Scottish kilt has won an apology from school officials. In a letter dated Jan. 9, Jackson School District Superintendent Ron Anderson apologized to Jackson High School senior Nathan Warmack and said the district would train staffers on how to properly apply the school dress code. On the evening of Nov. 5, Warmack, who is of Scottish descent, tried to enter a school dance wearing his kilt. He was refused entry by principal Rick McClard, who ordered the boy to change into trousers. News of the event sparked an Internet petition, which was signed by more than 10,000 supporters and championed by the Clan Gunn Society of North America, which promotes Scottish heritage and traditions. Perhaps fearing a Braveheart-style revolt, the school board eventually held a meeting and issued a written statement saying that school officials had no right to bar a student from wearing a kilt to any school function. Kirk Lyons, a North Carolina lawyer of Scottish heritage who represented the Warmacks, told the South East Missourian, “Scots are very touchy about their kilts.” Lyons attended the school board meeting in a green plaid kilt.
Dateline: Arizona—In what could, with a large stretch of the imagination, be viewed as a blow to conservative antiabortion legislation, a judge in Phoenix has ruled that fetuses do not count as human beings--at least in the carpool lane. The case began on Nov. 8 when Phoenix police Sgt. Dave Norton gave a ticket to Ahwatukee Foothills resident Candace Dickinson for improper use of a High Occupancy Vehicle lane. In Phoenix, sole occupant vehicles aren't allowed to use the carpool lane during morning and evening rush hour Monday through Friday. Dickinson contended, however, that--since she was pregnant--there were two people in the car. Phoenix Municipal Court Judge Dennis Freeman disagreed, applying a “common sense” definition to the law that passengers must occupy a “separate and distinct space” in a vehicle. Even after receiving the judge's $367 fine, Dickinson refused to give in, telling reporters from the East Valley Tribune that Arizona laws don't define what a person is and that her use of an unborn child as a passenger was justified. “To follow her philosophy would require officers to carry guns, radios and pregnancy testers,” noted Sgt. Norton. “I don't think we want to go there.”