Sunday, April 13, 2008

What May Have Been Involved

The police blotters that run in newspapers are usually too short for the items that they briefly mention. Most of the time, you read one sentence about a crime that happened and that one sentence really warrants at least one or two follow up sentences. (ie, "A man, covered in feathers, was spotted pushing your car down the highway." Stuff like that.) But, sadly, they almost never come. Until now.

The fine folks over there at ajc.com (That would be web-stuff for Atlanta Journal Constitution.) have a swell police blotter. Plenty of details which enable the reader to form an assumedly accurate vision of the ordeal and provide a fine source of welcome amusement. And all through the legal wrongdoings of others and, of course, the five words that always explain these things. (Alcohol may have been involved.) Here's what we've got:

"A police officer stopped a driver who nearly caused a collision by pulling out of a bar parking lot directly in front of another car. Upon being ordered to get out of his car, the driver exited slowly and was so intoxicated that he was unsteady on his feet. When he spoke, his speech was slurred. He appeared to be chewing on a large wad of newspaper. The officer asked him to spit it out. In addition to driving drunk, the man had a 9mm pistol sitting on top of the center console of his vehicle. The driver claimed it wasn't his and that he'd never seen it before. He seemed indignant about being arrested, and insisted "there is nothing wrong with me going to the bar and drinking."

Well, then. OK. I am a bit curious about the "chewing on a large wad of newspaper", so I called a friend (who drinks heavily) and I was informed that it was likely an attempt to cover the smell of alcohol on his breath. Ingenius. That wouldn't attract any extra attention at all, would it? (When I said that, I was reminded that if you're chewing on newspaper to cover up the smell of alcohol on your breath, it's because you're drunk. Oh, that's right. Never mind. I get it.) The drunk factor clearly plays another part in the man saying that he had never before seen the 9mm gun ON THE DASHBOARD of the car HE IS DRIVING. Yeah, that'll work. Who's next?
"A drunken patron found a place to sleep off his hangover but not in his own bed. A police officer was talking to a handcuffed suspect in the back of his patrol car at Taco Mac restaurant in Lawrenceville when he noticed a man crawl out of a nearby pickup truck. The man fell to the ground, where he vomited on himself and the pavement. A moment later, the man got up, stumbled toward them, opened the back door of the patrol car and tried to climb inside with the handcuffed suspect. The officer attempted to question the man, who was so drunk that he couldn't even provide his own address or phone number. He was carted off to jail on a disorderly conduct charge."
Now, that's attractive. If I was the guy already in handcuffs, I'd be pretty pissed that one minute, I've got the whole squad car to myself and the next minute I'm sitting there next to an incoherent drunken man who is covered in vomit. And, come on, it's not like once that car starts moving that he isn't going to vomit again. You know he is. And that he probably did.

"A Hiram man called 911 saying his mother was threatening him and beating him with pieces of furniture at a home in Norcross. When an officer arrived to investigate, the son claimed that he hadn't called police. The son became more agitated as the questioning went on. The officer told him to calm down or risk being arrested. The son then began cursing at the officer and pointing his finger near the officer's face. He was arrested for making a false report of a crime. The mother told police her son had been drinking that night and "he tends to make up stories."

I shall first address the "beating him with pieces of furniture" claim. That's interesting. I'm surprised, after a report like that, they only sent over one officer. I'm picturing some Amazon woman, possibly Godzilla sized, hurling sofas and armoires at this man. You're going to need more than one cop to deal with something like that. But they probably thought it through and, given the nature of the call, figured that "furniture" meant "lawn chair" and maybe "milk crate". One officer is probably enough for that. So the one officer shows up to find not an angry furniture-hurling Amazon, but a cursing drunken guy with a pointing problem. Excellent.

I'd like to propose that the phrase "Alcohol may have been involved" be changed to "We can't think of a reason alcohol wasn't involved".

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