Category Archive 'Darwin Awards'
09 Sep 2018

“Not Funny”

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The late Tommie Woodward.

Buzzfeed reports that, just because Tommie Woodward ignored warnings and jumped into the bayou at 2 A.M., winding up killed by an alligator, his grieving family feels he should not have been made into a Darwin Awards national joke.

On the night of July 2, 2015, Tommie Woodward was doing what Tommie did on Thursday nights — shooting pool, playing shuffleboard, drinking beer, having a good time at Burkart’s Marina, a beer and burger joint in Orange, Texas. Sometime around 2 a.m. he decided to go for a swim in the murky waters of Adams Bayou.

Michelle Wright, the bartender on duty, became concerned upon hearing Tommie’s plans. A few weeks earlier, the bar’s owner, Allen Burkart, spotted an exceptionally large alligator patrolling the bayou. He immediately erected a “No Swimming” sign, which was disregarded. The people of Orange frequently swam with the reptiles, and even nicknamed two of them Cheeto and Marshmallow. Wright pleaded with Tommie, but he was stubborn, never backed down from anyone or anything. He was going swimming. Wright returned to her bartending duties.

Tommie removed his shirt and billfold and, joined by his companion Victoria LeBlanc, tiptoed toward the water. At this point LeBlanc saw a big gator — maybe the same animal Burkart had encountered — emerge from beneath the dock. She alerted Tommie to its presence, who shouted back, “Fuck that gator!” and plunged into the bayou.

Tommie was near a small island across the swamp when the gator got his arm. When LeBlanc jumped into the water to save him, he yelled for her to return to land. She obliged, then frantically ran inside for help. After dialing 911, Wright grabbed a flashlight, killed the lights to reduce the glare, and scanned the water for him. After five minutes or so — she’s unsure — Wright found him facedown near the pier. The gator quickly pulled Tommie under again. He resurfaced about 20 yards downstream, before disappearing into the darkness.

Two hours later Tommie’s body was found with the left arm missing from the elbow down. His cause of death was drowning.

Tommie Woodward was the first person to die from an alligator attack in Texas since 1836. Shortly after the start of the Runaway Scrape, the mass evacuation of Texans fleeing Santa Anna’s army during the Texas Revolution, an alligator killed a man identified as Mr. King in a bayou near the present-day Harris County border. Mr. King was leading his horses across water when an alligator thumped him with its tail and dragged him under. Luckily for Mr. King — and his friends and family — his death occurred before the advent of television and social media.

News of Tommie Woodward’s death went viral with articles on, among other places, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, Fox News, and Gawker; the Associated Press picked up the story; it led the local TV news, of course. The local Beaumont Enterprise published a cautionary op-ed. The comment sections were busy and typically unsympathetic. The particulars — an animal attack, his famous last words, according to the police report — provided irresistible content.

Some outlets used an image from Tommie’s Facebook page of him chugging a Miller High Life while wearing a T-shirt that reads “Classy Motherfucker”; a news anchor for KFDM, the CBS affiliate in nearby Beaumont, breathlessly noted “the hundreds and thousands of pageviews and hundreds of comments” that the story generated on its website. Another circulated photo portrayed Tommie as the epitome of dudedom: grungy reddish-blonde chin strap beard, middle finger up, wearing a goofy cowboy hat, wraparound Guy Fieri shades, and a “This Guy Needs a Beer” shirt. On Facebook, strangers littered Tommie’s wall with comments like “lol rip dumbass” and “What. A. Dumb. Fuck.” A controversial hunt for the killer gator ensued, which only compounded the attention.

Tommie’s friends and family refuse to allow his final actions define the 28 years that preceded it. He loved Van Halen, Marilyn Monroe, and Ken Griffey Jr. He was good with his hands. He enjoyed assembling computers, building sandcastles with his nephew, fishing, swimming, camping, and grilling. He had an adoring big sister, a mom, a best friend, and an identical twin brother, Brian, all left to wrestle not just with grief over a freak tragedy, but also the aftermath of public humiliation. “I was severely pissed off at a lot of people that I’ve never met before,” his sister, Tabatha, says. “I was mad at everybody.”

RTWT

14 Aug 2018

“Get Off My Green!”

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11 Aug 2018

Death by Fuzzy Thinking

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Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan. On July 29, in Tajikistan, five ISIS members deliberately plowed their car into the American couple and their two temporary cycling companions, one from Switzerland and the other from the Netherlands.

Bruce Bawer is less than sympathetic.

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, a young American couple, both graduates of Georgetown University, who decided to quit their humdrum office jobs and go on an epic bike ride and camping trip that would take them all over the world. …

Austin, a vegan who worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Geoghegan, a vegetarian who worked in a college admissions office, were both 29 years old – old enough, one would think, to have some idea of just how dangerous a route they had mapped out. …

Both Austin and Geoghegan were seasoned travelers, who had separately gone on backpacking adventures in exotic lands and, together, had recently biked across Iceland as a sort of prelude to their odyssey through Africa, Europe, and Asia. …

[T]o read Austin’s blog is to see no hint of hesitation, on the part of either of them, to keep on cycling – no sign of fear that their luck might run out at any moment. Their naivete is nothing less than breathtaking. “You watch the news and you read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place,” wrote Austin during their trek. “People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted….I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own.” This rosy view of humanity suffuses Austin’s blog. …

Austin’s blog also provides a window on his (and presumably her) hippie-dippy worldview and ultra-PC politics. Elephants, writes Austin, “may very well be a smarter, wiser, more thoughtful being than homo sapiens sapiens.” When white South Africans tell them “that the nation and its redistributionist government are making poor, ignorant choices,” Austin sneers at their “Eurocentric values” and their failure to realize that “[n]otions like private property” are culturally relative. This is apparently a comment on the South African government’s current expropriation of white farmers’ land without compensation. …

Austin also sneers at Thanksgiving, “a strange tradition built upon a glossy, guiltless retelling of a genocide, in which we show our appreciation for what we have by killing a quarter-billion turkeys, eating to the point of discomfort, queueing up outside shopping malls to buy electronics at reduced rates, and otherwise yearning for that which we do not have.” When President Trump announces his plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Austin and Geoghegan are in Morocco, where the people are outraged. Yes, because they hate Jews. But Austin’s response is to be so ashamed of his American identity that he tries “to disappear into the soft plush” of a couch cushion. …

The [August 7] Times article about Austin and Geoghegan drew hundreds of reader comments. A surprising number were by other people who’d bicycled or backpacked in far-off, dangerous places. Most saw Austin and Geoghegan as “heroic,” “authentic,” “idealistic,” “inspiring,” “a Beautiful example of Purity and Light.” Sample reactions: “Their candle burned brightly before it was extinguished.” And: “Good for them! They followed their dream.” Then there’s this: “I only see the beauty of two people taking steps to live the life they envision….The good experienced in their journey far far outweighs any negative.” Easy to say when you’re not the one in the body bag. “What is more dangerous,” asked yet another reader, “exposing yourself to the world and its dangers, and living a full vivid life, or insulating yourself in a safe box, in front of screens, where the world and its marvels and dangers cannot touch you? Jay and Lauren understood that safety is its own danger. They are awesome people.” No, they’re mangled, decaying corpses. “Safe boxes”? That’s what they’re both in now: boxes.

RTWT

I’m just waiting for the admiring article in Outside Magazine.

HT: Stephen Green.

23 May 2018

In the Beekse Bergen Safari Park in the Dutch Province of Brabant

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Beekse Bergen African Wildlife Drive-Through Park.

Why not get out of the car for a better view? And, hey! how about let’s take a little walk, too.

HTL Vanderleun.

02 May 2018

Move Away Quickly!

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29 Jul 2017

In a Hurry

29 Jun 2017

YouTube Stunt Results in Darwin Award

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Monalisa Perez and the late Pedro Ruiz.

Buzzfeed:

Monalisa Perez was arrested on Monday night after she fatally shot her 22-year-old boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz, while the couple were recording a YouTube stunt for her vlog. …

On Wednesday, Perez was charged with second-degree manslaughter — a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, a fine of $20,000, or both. …

Perez, who is pregnant, told police that Ruiz wanted to make a YouTube video of her shooting a book while he was holding it, as he believed that the book would stop the bullet, according to the criminal complaint.

Perez tweeted on Monday that the pair were planning to shoot a dangerous video. “HIS idea not MINE,” she wrote.

Perez started a YouTube channel in March which aimed to show “the real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents.”

Perez had uploaded several YouTube videos featuring her and Ruiz, many of which involved doing “pranks,” “stunts,” and “challenges.”

Some of the videos also featured their three-year-old daughter.

The couple’s most recent video, which was uploaded on Monday — the day Ruiz died — was titled “Doing scary stunts at the fair.”

Perez told authorities that Ruiz had been trying to convince her “for a while” to shoot the book while he held it for a YouTube video.

Ruiz had set up a GoPro camera and another camera on a ladder nearby to record the stunt, according to the complaint. The two cameras — which recorded the shooting — have been secured as evidence for the investigation.

Perez told authorities that Ruiz eventually “convinced” her to shoot the book he was holding.

She said he had showed her a different book which the bullet did not go through.

Perez told police that she shot from a foot away while Ruiz held the book to his chest.

She used a .50-caliber Desert Eagle firearm which authorities recovered from the grass near the house.

RTWT

Reading this you kind of wonder whether Pedro might not have tested the stunt using his .22 pistol, but then perhaps the unhappy girlfriend decided to switch in the .50 Desert Eagle when the time came to film the action. Bang!

06 Feb 2017

Death Takes a Holiday

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From Reddit:

Gurrb17 19 hours ago

Sometimes death is busy and just says, “Fuck it, I’ll get them next time.”

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topoftheworldIAM 18 hours ago

In this case death just sat on the grass and wished he was a kid again.

30 Jan 2017

Natural Selection Foiled by Coast Guard in Northern California

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04 Jan 2017

Selfie Taker Bitten by Thai Crocodile

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NY Post:

She just snapped.

A French tourist was bitten by a crocodile after posing next to the enormous reptile in a misguided attempt to take a selfie, according to reports.

The 41-year-old woman was exploring Thailand’s Khao Yai National Park with her husband when the duo came across the giant female reptile, reported The Mirror.

The couple squatted down next to the crocodile, which then reportedly sank its teeth into the woman’s thigh as the picture was taken.

Snaps from the scene show the woman being whisked away by rescuers, as the croc ambles away through the brush.

The park reportedly posts many signs telling visitors to stay on paths and not detour through the thicket.

The unnamed woman, whose leg appears bandaged, was transported to an area hospital, where she was treated for her injuries.

Her condition remains unknown.

The crocodile remains at large.

Hat tip to Jim Harberson.

02 Nov 2016

Keep Car Doors Locked in Safari Park!

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15 Oct 2016

Life Resembling Art

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