As someone in his late 60's, I've been reading with some concern about the local increase in crime in which senior citizens are the victims. But I did breathe a sigh of relief today to learn that one species of violence remains remote from the Hoosier scene: toilet bombing.
But I will likely be staying away from Connecticut, where a man has just been sentenced to five years in prison for blowing up a portable toilet. It appears that one Bruce Forest, age 50, had been charged with several such explosions in 2005 and 2006, but under a plea agreement admitted to only one.
Now I don't know how plea agreements get reached in such cases, but I remember that when I was a boy I constantly got into trouble in my aunt's mostly female household by failing to put the lid back down after using her facility. No criminal record for that, though...I guess they treated me as a juvenile offender.
It also seems that the guy in Connecticut was well known for some other law violations: Internet piracy of music and movies. Now there's a ready-made Ph.D. dissertation topic just waiting for an author: Is there a demonstrated causal connection between trading in illegal copies of "Spiderman III" and lighting the long fuse to convert a one-piece commode into several hundred pieces? And if so, is the linkage one of nurture or nature?
I understand that just before he died Jerry Falwell was going to blame all of those tornados in Kansas and Oklahoma on folks who sit around just thinking about blowing up toilets. But as usual, he would have been plain wrong. My Bible says it's due to all those guys who stand around and then don't put the lid back down. My aunt would have agreed with that one.
Like I said, I'm glad the toilet bombing phenomenon seems to be confined to New England and isn't going to become a Hoosier tradition. But I have heard rumblings that a certain Republican state senator is writing another unnecessary amendment to the Indiana Constitution to address the subject. Section A defines "pyrotechnic toilet calamity", limiting it however to one Men's restroom and one Women's restroom located side by side, as God intended. Now there's nothing particularly controversial about that. But, as usual, read the fine print in Section B. It goes on to say that "nothing in this Constitution or any other Indiana law shall be construed to require that the legal incidents of toilet bombing be bestowed upon unmarried couples or groups." Sound vaguely familiar?
I fear that an ill-conceived amendment like this could lead to all kinds of unintended consequences. You may scoff, but It's already happened in Ohio and Michigan where similar measures meant the end of any punishment for potty-related mishaps unless the perpetrator and perpetratee were legally married.
You would think our legislature would have better things to do. Like deciding once and for all whether the two-ply tissue should be pulled from the front or the back of the roll. Alex, can we do an "open thread" on that question?