Sunday, May 24, 2009
Just after midnight on 20 November 1986, in Kansas City, Missouri, Cell phone three policemen followed up on a mysterious 911 call. The emergency dispatcher had given them the address (traceable by computer) but was unable to describe the problem because the caller had hung up as soon as the 911 operator had answered the phone. Could it be a hostage taking? A medical emergency? The policemen dispatched to the scene had no idea what they might be walking into.
At the address they'd been sent to investigate, the officers found 1.25 lbs. of cocaine, more than 500 grams of crack, two pistols, and more than $12,000 in cash . . . as well as three very surprised crooks. Though the three people in the apartment fled, two of them (Pauline Webley, 27, of Florida and Geneive Hyde, 32, of New York) were later caught and charged with possession of cocaine.
What had happened to bring the police to the criminals' door? The ring members had called the cops on themselves. One of them had tried to dial 921, the first few digits of their leader's phone number, but had instead reached the police emergency number.
In October 2004, a quite similar incident occurred in the aptly-named town of Callaway, Florida.
Vicki Lynn Nunnery, 43, inadvertently dialed 911 when she was trying to call someone else and — unfortunately for her — rather than staying on the line to explain her mistake to a dispatcher, she quickly hung up. What Ms. Nunnery didn't realize is that standard procedure for police is to send an officer to investigate all 911 disconnections, and so a sheriff's deputy was routed to swing by her home address and check up on her.
When the investigating deputy arrived at Ms. Nunnery's house, he smelled the distinct odor of methamphetamines and contacted narcotics agents, who obtained a search warrant for the premises. The agents' search soon disclosed that the three-bedroom home was serving as one the largest methamphetamine laboratories ever found in Bay County, and officers arrested Ms. Nunnery and Vito James Knowles, 44, on several drug trafficking and weapons charges.
Were these crooks unusual? Far from it: crooks unwittingly call the cops on themselves with surprising regularity by connecting to 911 emergency services (and sometimes older cordless phones actually dial 911 themselves). Consider the following oddball cases:
* December 2008; Middletown, New York:
A trio of thieves intent upon stealing car parts from an auto body shop in upstate New York foiled themselves when the cell phone one of them was carrying "pocket dialed" 911, resulting in police overhearing their conversation as they were robbing the place: "You better come! We're getting the tires — just shut the car off. They're going to think we're stealing it!" The GPS function on the phone led police straight to the miscreants.
* April 2005; Rogersville, Tennessee:
Hawkins County authorities were tipped off to two would-be burglars' plans to steal a refrigerator from a mobile home dealership when a cell phone one of the crooks was carrying in his front pocket relayed a 40-minute-long discussion about the upcoming heist to 911 dispatchers. (The phone was of a type that automatically calls 911 when the '9' key is held down.) Sheriff's deputies hid in the woods near the dealership and nabbed the hapless thieves as they exited one of the mobile homes with a refrigerator and set it on the ground outside.
* March 1997; San Diego, California: Trying to call Mexico, a drug dealer dialed 911 instead of 011. Though he hung up when the emergency services operator answered, a police patrol was dispatched to his address. Four bad guys were arrested and 42 lbs. of marijuana and 2 oz. of methamphetamine were seized.
* February 1996; Frederick, Maryland: A lad called 911 to report the shed he was growing marijuana in was on fire. He got 60 days.
* August 1996; Los Angeles, California: Yet another failed attempt to call Mexico netted this drug dealer a visit from John Law. A gun, $15,000 and a 3 lb. bag of powdered cocaine were discovered at this fellow's house.
* February 1994; Laguna Nigel, California: A man programming his phone to speed-dial 911 (Huh? The number is that hard to remember?) was arrested when sheriff's deputies responded to his call. He and his two buddies appeared to be under the influence of crystal methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia was found in the apartment, so the three of them were placed under arrest.
* February 1990; San Diego, California: A phone programmed to automatically dial 911 when bumped or dropped gave this set of crooks away. Police discovered 250-300 marijuana plants growing in the house they'd been sent to investigate.
Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" members of the 200-man association.
Origins: On 9 July 1993, Garry Hoy, Falling man a 38-year-old lawyer with the Toronto law firm of Holden Day Wilson, did indeed plunge to his death from the 24th floor Toronto Dominion Bank Tower in front of several horrified witnesses.
The firm's spokesperson said Hoy "... was testing the strength of the window. There was a lot of joking about how the window wouldn't open maybe on a hot day ... Apparently, it was the second attempt [at testing the window] that one of them popped out and he went through."
As well, a Toronto police officer reported that Hoy "... was showing his knowledge of the tensile strength of window glass and presumably the glass gave way. I know the frame and the blinds are still there."
Our advice is to apply the same rule to architecture as you do to computers: Don't ever bet your life on windows not crashing.
A golfer angered by a bad shot is killed by the club he threw in frustration.
In 1994, 16-year-old Jeremy Brenno of Gloversville, New York, was killed when he struck a bench with a golf club, and the shaft broke, bounced back at him, and pierced his heart. Brenno had missed a shot on the sixth hole at the Kingsboro Golf Club and looked to vent his frustration by giving the nearby bench a good whack in retaliation. The fatal club was a No. 3 wood.
Brenno's is not the only accidental death by golf club. In 2005, 15-year-old Rafael Naranjo of Gardner, Massachusetts, expired after playfully swinging a 5-iron he'd found in the street at a fire hydrant . His act caused part of the shaft, along with the head of the club, to break off and lodge in his neck.
In 1951, Edward Harrison was playing a round at Inglewood in Kenmore, Washington, when the shaft of his driver broke and pierced his groin. He staggered 100 yards before collapsing and bleeding to death.
In 2005, 12-year-old Chandler Hugh Jackson of Frisco, Texas, died in Cunningham, Kentucky, after apparently falling onto a broken golf club at Dogwood Hill club. A piece of the club's shaft went through the boy's chest and pierced his aorta.
A pedestrian was killed by a flying fire hydrant.
Loss of life through head-on collision or rollover have become mundane events in our automotively-enhanced world; we expect to read in every morning's paper about traffic deaths on local roads and highways.
While all traffic fatalities are tragedies to be grieved over, some happen in far more unusual fashion than others. Every now and then a vehicle-caused demise is so wildly at odds with what we expect of our world that it shakes the cobwebs from our heads as it serves to remind us that life can be lost in the blink of an eye and through no fault of anyone's.
On 21 June 2007, 24-year-old Humberto Hernandez was killed by a 200-pound fire hydrant that came flying through the air to strike him in the head as he walked with his wife along an Oakland, California, sidewalk.
The fire hydrant had been launched onto its deadly trajectory by a sport utility vehicle that crashed into it. The 2007 Ford Escape had blown a tire and swerved onto the sidewalk, striking the hydrant. Water pressure and the impact of the crash sent the fire plug flying like a "bullet," said Phil Abrams, an Alameda County deputy sheriff.
This was far from the first death caused by an object inadvertently launched by a vehicle, but it is somewhat unusual in that the victim wasn't in a car himself. Over
the years, numerous drivers and passengers have met the Grim Reaper via tires flying off passing vehicles, but other items have also ended lives.
On 28 December 2006, a ball-style trailer hitch killed 32-year-old Sean O'Shea of Encinitas, California, when it bounced up from the roadway and through his windshield, striking him in the head before coming to rest in his vehicle's back cargo area. The 5- or 6-pound hitch either fell off a truck or came off the back of a vehicle.
Another death occurred in similar fashion on 30 March 1995, in Santa Clara, California. On that day, while riding as the passenger in a friend's car, 37-year-old Joanne Bergeson was struck by a car jack that flew into the vehicle; she died in the hospital a few hours later of head wounds so sustained. The jack had either been dropped by a truck traveling in front of Bergeson's vehicle or had been lying in the roadway and was kicked up by it.
Origins: The images above come from, respectively, CNN's television coverage and a photo snapped by freelance photographer Mark D. Phillips (who subsequently sold his picture to Associated Press) as New York's World Trade Center towers burned after the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001. Neither image was manipulated. Finding demonic images in photographs and other visual representations — especially those depicting scenes of death and disaster — is an age-old human behavior employed to ascribe catastrophes to evil forces beyond our control, or (as in the following example) to fix blame on a target of choice (rather than the real perpetrators):
[Collected on the Internet, 2001] Don't these photos of Satan at the world Trade Center catastrophe tell us that the current seat of Satan's power is the World Trade Center? Don't these photos depict Satan being awakend from his hiding place in the World Trade Center? For it is the international bankers who operate from Fed, the CFR and the World Trade Center who create first, second and third world debt. Usury according to the Bible is Satan's method for enslaving the world under his priesthood, the accountants and bankers of the world (IMF, World Bank Group, WTO).
All of this will usher in 666 which is an economic mark of commerce according to the Book of Revelation (Ch 13,17). This mark will also be a religious affiliation of worship which will damn the soul eternally of all who partake we are told.
And then there are those who take the additional step of deliberately creating such images:
A construction worker survived an accident that poked an 18-inch-long drill bit through one eye and out the side of his skull.
Although we dread the gory industrial accidents that leave their victims dead or result in the loss of a limb (or more), other types of on-the-job injuries can strike us as far more horrific. One such accident took place on 15 August 2003, when Ron Hunt, a Truckee, California, construction worker, landed face-first on a large drill bit.
Hunt was working in the Tahoe Donner Subdivision in Truckee, standing atop a six-foot ladder while drilling over his head, when he gave the drill an extra push to bore a hole. As he felt the ladder begin to wobble out from under Although we dread the gory industrial accidents that leave their victims dead or result in the loss of a limb (or more), other types of on-the-job injuries can strike us as far more horrific. One such accident took place on 15 August 2003, when Ron Hunt, a Truckee, California, construction worker, landed face-first on a large drill bit. him, he tried tossing his power drill aside (a standard practice in the construction industry, intended to prevent workers from injuring themselves attempting to regain grips on out-of-control power tools) before falling to the ground. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to throw the drill far enough away, and he landed upon it face-first. The 18-inch-long, 1.5-inch diameter chip auger drill bit pierced Hunt's right eye and exited through the side of his skull. As Hunt described the mishap:
By the time I was falling, and I let the drill go down, I was already on top of it. The drill was facing up but it was off. When the drill hit, it just exploded my eye. It skewered me. I ran my hands up the drill bit, up to my eye, and put my other hand in the back of my head and felt it coming through the back of my head, and that's where pretty much the shock set in. The first thing I thought was 'Am I going to die?' I knew it was serious. I was scared. I didn't know if it was in my brain or not.
The only other worker on the site that morning, Forrest Keating, heard Hunt call for help and rushed to assist him:
The first thing I saw was this drill sticking out about 6 inches from the back of his head and 6 inches out the front. It was a trip, like something out of a horror movie. I was amazed he was still alive.
Keating removed his shirt and attempted to stem the flow of blood gushing from Hunt's eye by wrapping the shirt around the drill. He then ran 300 yards to a nearby house to summon medical help, and when paramedics arrived they released the body of the drill from the bit and loaded Hunt onto a gurney. Hunt (conscious throughout his ordeal) was then flown by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center in Reno, Nevada, where doctors pondered their options for treating the bizarre injury. Miraculously, although the drill bit tunneled between Hunt's scalp and his skull as it came out of the side of his head, it pushed his brain aside rather than pushing into it, sparing him from death, brain damage, or paralysis.
Dr. Paul Ludlow, an ear, nose and throat specialist who was the facial trauma physician on call that morning, initially intended to cut off the drill bit but eventually decided that the best approach was to, in effect, unscrew it from Hunt's head:
We had to either cut down on it, which meant making a rather long incision through a lot of muscle, or just unscrew it - twist it all the way through and out. We would have cut it off, but after a few minutes of drilling, we noticed that it was loose. And so we just put down our blade and twisted the bit.
Hunt had sufficiently recovered from his injuries by early September to appear on national television programs such as CNN News and ABC's "Good Morning America." Although he was truly fortunate not to have suffered more severe injuries (or damage to his motor or speech skills), he came away from the accident far from unscathed: besides suffering a fractured skull (which required a second operation to insert two titanium plates to reinforce the fractured bone), he lost an eye and now faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and rehabilitation costs. According to news accounts, Hunt is not covered by state compensation for on-the-job injuries, and he was a self-employed worker with no medical insurance.
Injuries of this type always call to mind the case of Phineas Gage, who in 1848 survived an accident which blew a 3-foot, 7-inch tamping iron under a cheek bone and completely out through the top of his head. Although Gage lived on for almost another dozen years, he suffered dramatic changes in personality and was subject to epileptic seizures in his final months.
These picture were taken about three weeks ago. Skippy "joined" us for a snack at the kitchen table at home. The funny thing is that the way he sits is different. Dog always sit on their butts, but Skippy sits side way on his butt! He has good manners as he does not jump on the table or beg for food when we are having our snacks. He just sit there a observe what is going on.
You can click on the picture and get a larger view of Skippy.
* In January 2004, a Malaysian man who napped on his bed while his cell recharged beside him was reportedly scalded across his buttocks by the remnants of the phone's battery as the unit exploded. The 40-year-old electrician had put a new battery into his cell the week before.
* In February 2004, Asia Pulse reported that the SV-130 phone belonging to a 54-year-old South Korean woman exploded, setting her bed on fire. According to their account, the cell was not being used at the time, and its battery was disconnected. Fortunately, the woman was sleeping in another room at the time her phone went ka-bang.
* In March 2004, a welder in Thailand was said to have suffered a severe electric shock when his cell phone exploded from having been brought into too close proximity to a high-voltage pole. The victim's injuries were severe enough to necessitate his leg's being amputated.
* In September 2004, a report out of southern Vietnam stated that a two-year-old Siemens C45 left charging for 30 minutes had exploded, slightly injuring a bystander.
Worldwide, a number of cells exploded in 2003, a great many of them Nokia phones. According to Nokia, third-party or counterfeit batteries were to blame: in each and every exploding phone case it investigated, the battery in question proved not to be original to the unit and not to have included industry-standard safety measures. It also found the vast majority of short circuits that led to these explosions were caused by the units' having undergone traumatic events (such as being dropped) which jeopardized the integrity of poorly-manufactured batteries.
More will come out at the coming Cable Telecommunications and Internet Association trade show in Las Vegas early April. But the buzz on the Zer01 is compelling: The product will offer all the voice, data and cell usage a customer wants for $70 a month. That's right, $70, with nary a contract or commitment.
New Company Likely to Raise Ire
The system will emulate landed broadband phones by running on data networks and not phone systems. And Zer01 is almost certain to raise traditional carrier ire.
But, still, in these cost-conscious times, expect value-hungry cell phone users to take this product seriously: Since who really has the money these days to throw away on pricey data plans?