Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Strange Crime

You knew that to try to kill a human and fail was a crime. Did you know it was a crime to try to raise the dead and fail? In Russia, the crime is apparently fraud. That'll show 'em!

More seriously, the fact that the accused could be convicted of eleven separate incidents in which he induced people to part with money in exchange for his efforts to effect supernatural cures says something about the ease with which one can find people who are really gullible. As the great philosopher Barnum is alleged to have elucidated, there's one born every minute.

And what do you figure fruitless expenses do to the cost of health care?

Easily confused and misdirected people aren't solely confined to the victims of crime: There are some nitwit perpetrators, too.

A would-be thief in Japan didn't want to believe his knife-point mugging victim was out of cash, so a quick-thinking housewife lulled him into a false sense of security by offering him tea and got him set monologuing about his life. In The Incredibles, we learn from Pixar's keen students of human moves that once the villain is monologuing, you have an opportunity to escape. For example, fill him with tea 'till he visits the john and flee, or else offer to nip down to the store to buy cookies on credit -- cookies go so well with tea, don't you think -- and make an emergency call. Maybe duck out of the room to change that baby's diaper, and just not return without a police escort.

Alas, she just cracked and gave the thief ¥10000 (over $90) and let him escape. She could so have just apologized for not having the money to help him, and thank him for letting her pour him some tea, and she would have gotten off Scott-free. Tokyo cops are still looking for him.

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