Sad But True

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Randy Nestor, 28, was a considerate car thief. When the stolen cars became hot, he didn't just abandon them, he torched them. Setting the cars on fire, he reasoned, helped the owners collect insurance on their vehicles. This criminal habit became his downfall. After a 10-year career of theft, Randy burned to death in Pittsburgh, PA in a van which he had set fire to from the inside. He hadn't realized that the door handle on the driver's side was broken. Friends tried to release him, but the door was locked. His burned body was found inside the van on Sunday, 1 March 1998.

Did he win the argument? It happened in February 1998 in a working-class Boedo neighborhood in Buenos Aires. During a heated marital dispute, a 25-year-old man picked up his 20-year-old wife and threw her off their eighth-floor apartment balcony. To his dismay, she became tangled in the power lines below. He immediately leapt from the balcony and fell towards his wife. We can only speculate as to his reasons. Was he angrily trying to finish the job, or was he remorsefully hoping to rescue her? He did not accomplish either goal. He missed the power lines completely, and plunged to his death. The woman managed to swing over to a nearby balcony and was saved.

Hungry or just stupid? January 29, 1998, was a fateful day for Michael Gentner. He was shooting the breeze with a group of men, watching a friend clean his fish tank. Alcoholic beverages may have been present. The friend complained that one fish in particular had become a menace. It had outgrown the tank and was eating other specimens. Michael volunteered to assist. He seized the 5-inch fish and attempted to swallow it. Unfortunately, it stuck in his throat. As Michael gasped futilely for breath, turned blue, and sank to his knees, his three friends realized that something was amiss. They contacted 911 and informed the dispatcher that Gentner had eaten some fish, and was having trouble breathing. Paramedics were quickly dispatched. They arrived to find the fish tail still protruding from the victim's mouth. Despite their best efforts, the 23-year-old could not be resuscitated. The killer fish had claimed one last victim.

There are safe methods of lighting fireworks. There are dangerous methods of lighting fireworks. Two residents of villages in East Java were killed when they chose the latter method of ignition. Firecrackers are illegal in Indonesia. However, they can be purchased from the black market during celebrations such as Idul Fitri. And boys will be boys, the world over. In January, Isomudin, a 28-year-old resident of Kenongo, and Matkijo, a 20-year-old from Telasih, obtained a large quantity of firecrackers and connected their detonation fuses to a motorcycle battery. The two perpetrators proceeded to start the engine. The resulting explosion could be heard from a distance of two kilometers. Onlookers attempted to rescue Isomudin and Matkijo, but their burns were too severe. Both men died at the scene. Eight onlookers were treated at a local hospital for their injuries.

A Melbourne, Australia man was playing basketball with his brother and 16-year-old cousin, using a hoop affixed to his garage. After slam-dunking the ball, he hung on the rim for a triumphant moment. The bricks gave way and the wall collapsed on the 20-year-old man, fatally crushing him. His name was withheld by authorities, at the request of his family. Melbourne, Australia is not the safest place to play basketball. Ryan Maloney, 19, died in 1996 in a public basketball court when the ring collapsed on him after a dunk. The coroner recommended that dunking basketballs be banned. No heed was taken of his words. The tradition is still practiced throughout the world.

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categories: news, politics, government

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