Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Orange County Crime Story of the Day: reverse Darwin Awards

Anybody who knows me knows I hate two things: drunk drivers and effin' stupid people who do effin' stupid things that adversely affect other people, typically innocent bystanders (I guess that would include drunk drivers, so it's one thing I hate).

Join with me, won't you, in reading this lovely tale from the Los Angeles Times about four fine young gentlemen who had fashioned simple "bombs" by combining dry ice and water inside a plastic bottle, which causes pressure to build in the bottle until it bursts open in a loud explosion:
Shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday, a group of pedestrians at Paseo De Valencia and Stockport Street in Laguna Hills reported that an SUV with four teenagers inside drove by and threw a bottle at them that exploded, Amormino said.

About 20 minutes later, someone in a vehicle of the same description threw one of the devices into the vehicle of a man driving with his window down near Alicia Parkway and the 5 Freeway in neighboring Mission Viejo.

The bottle exploded as the man grabbed it to throw it out and injured his hand, Amormino said. He followed the SUV onto the freeway and managed to write down the license plate number and call it in to authorities, who tracked down the vehicle.

The teens told investigators they had exploded up to six devices around southern Orange County. Only three explosions were reported to authorities.

Authorities are unsure what motivated the attacks but say they could have caused serious injuries or traffic accidents.

“Whether they were intending to harm or not, it's a dangerous thing,” Amormino said. “If it was a prank, it's a dangerous prank and obviously ill-advised.”
In this article and in a similar one in the Orange County Register, people in the comments section have not been kind to them. While pointing out that this "prank" could actually have caused a deadly accident, some are celebrating that the star football player will likely lose his full-ride athletic scholarship to Northern Arizona University. Others have pointed out that, had they been victims of this foursome, would have chased them down and shot them. Nice.

I just don't know what to say. Are these guys sociopaths? Just plain stupid? What would be a reasonable punishment? (They may get little punishment at all, since eighteen-year-old Mitchell Gary Melugin and nineteen-year-old Robert Jacob Browne are only being one misdemeanor count of throwing a substance at a vehicle.)

God, I hope I never have kids like this. When I was young, the worst we did was put firecrackers in tangerines that grew in my backyard, watching them explode after we tossed them in the air. We were limited by the number of tangerines the tree produced, so it never really got out of hand. And at any rate, I stopped this by junior high; these jackasses are legal adults, fresh out of high school.

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