Today's stories [7.3.18]
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's Most Bizarre Suicide
On March 23 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and
concluded that he died from a gunshot wound of the head caused by a shotgun.
Investigation to that point had revealed that the deceased had jumped from
the top of a ten story building with the intent to commit suicide (he
left a note indicating his despondency). As he passed the 9th floor on the way
down, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, killing
him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety
net had been erected at the 8th floor level to protect some window washers
and that the deceased would not have been able to complete his intent to
commit suicide because of this.
Ordinarily, a person who starts into motion the events with a suicide intent
ultimately commits suicide even though the mechanism might be not what he
intended. That he was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below
probably would not change his mode of death from suicide to homicide. But
the fact that his suicide intent would not have been achieved under any
circumstance caused the medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his
Further investigation led to the discovery that the room on the 9th floor
from whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and
his wife. He was threatening her with the shotgun because of an
inter-spousal spat and became so upset that he could not hold the shotgun
straight. Therefore, when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his
wife and the pellets went through the window striking the deceased.
When one intends to kill subject A, but kills subject B in the attempt, one
is guilty of the murder of subject B. The old man was confronted with this
conclusion, but both he and his wife were adamant in stating that neither
knew that the shotgun was loaded. It was the longtime habit of the old man
to threaten his wife with an unloaded shotgun. He had no intent to murder
her; therefore, the killing of the deceased appeared then to be accident.
That is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.
But *further* investigation turned up a witness that their son was seen
loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal accident. That
investigation showed that the mother (the old lady) had cut off her son's
financial support and her son, knowing the propensity of his father to use
the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that the
father would shoot his mother. The case now becomes one of murder on the part
of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.
Further investigation revealed that the son became increasingly despondent
over the failure of his attempt to get his mother murdered. This led him to
jump off the ten story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun
blast through a 9th story window.
The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.
Microsoft Corp. dismissed an anti-virus company's claim that
versions of Internet Explorer 3.0 and above possess another
hole in security by calling the feature in question a "design
thing, not a bug."
My classmate, Susan, and I are in the middle of our thesis rewrites
for Johns Hopkins University. We only have two weeks left and we are
both quite razzled at the prospect of doing more research in the
Today Susan called me to say that she desperately needed more history
about a small tribe of Native Americans that lives in the Grand Canyon
but there's only one telephone on the reservation and no one ever answers it.
As a matter of fact, the three times she visited the tribe's Visitor
Center while she was on vacation, she said no one ever opened up the
Being a computer geek, I said, "Have you checked the Internet?"
She said, "No, what a great idea! Thanks."
I did a quick check using Excite while she used Yahoo and she was astounded
at the information available about this little-known tribe. She thanked me
profusely for the tip and hung up.
Two hours later, she called me back sounding absolutely miserable.
"Susan," I said, "What's the matter?"
"Well," she said, "You're not going to believe it but they have their own
Web page with all the information I could ever want about the tribe."
"That's great," I said. "What more could you ask for?"
"You don't understand," she said. "My article is about how isolated the
tribe is and how their only path to the outside world is a little dirt
trail up the side of the canyon! On their Web page, they even have a
scanned photo of the helicopter that brought the donated PC into the canyon."
Moral of the story: Sometimes ignorance is bliss -- especially when you're
trying to finish a thesis on time.
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