One common concern that comes to mind each week when I read Weird and Wacky Wednesdays is why. Why would someone think climbing a tree would help them avoid the long arm of the law? Why would police officers from two separate precincts trying to arrest each other not realize they were all cops undercover? Why do so many of these stories originate from Florida?
Well dear friends, this week you can add to that list, why would Kyla Lee invite me, Paul Doroshenko to write this week's episode of Weird and Wacky Wednesdays? The answer, however, is fairly simple. Kyla wanted to help me understand the "why." So here I am. Your guest blog posters, trying hard to understand the decisions made by humans. Let’s start with our first human in trouble, Mr. John Casford.
Young, Wild, and Free
You're thinking to yourself, wild animals are in the wild and in some circumstances they're in cages because, well, they're wild. But those lovely big eyes and soft features can be so compelling. Any creature that cute must be sweet, affectionate and adorable, right?
Well, most of us already know that animals in zoos aren't stuffed toys. Mr. Casford, however, had to learn this the hard way.
You see this fellow, all hopped up on some intoxicating drug, decided it would be a good idea to climb into the cage with the squirrel monkeys at the Wellington zoo. Why? Love. And stupidity.
Now it turns out squirrel monkeys can put up a fight. Mr. Casford wanted to capture and steal a squirrel money to take home to his girlfriend and his plan involved getting in the cage and getting his hands on one. It didn't go as planned. Mr. Casford was apparently found still in the cage the following morning. During his sentencing for attempted squirrel theft (?) District Court judge Bill Hastings summed it up as follows:
"I don't know what happened in the squirrel monkey enclosure. The squirrel monkeys know. You say you couldn't find them and I don't speak squirrel. What I know is that by daybreak all the monkeys were distressed, two of them were injured, and you had a broken leg, two fractured teeth, a sprained ankle, and bruises on your back."
So this one is easy. Why? love. And stupidity. The only unanswered question is where did the squirrel monkeys study martial arts? That's a question for another day.
What about Florida?
Lets see if the next story can help me understand the "whys."
Port St. Lucie, a city on Florida's east coast, has people who have the munchies. We don't need to delve deeply into the "why" of that. And like most places they use money to purchase goods, such as food. Which is why it seemed odd to the staff of a McDonalds restaurant in Port St. Lucie that a Mr. Anthony Gallagher showed up at the drive thru window offering to purchase his food with a baggie of cannabis.
Now, there is some logic here. Cannabis is a tradable commodity. It is not really fungible, in that there are different qualities and relative freshness may be a concern. McDonalds does not accept cannabis in payment for food so they sent Mr. Gallagher on his way.
Apparently the McDonalds staff called the police in any event, providing a description which caused the police to be on the lookout for Mr. Gallagher and his car, surf board sticking out the back window. As it turns out they needn't look far. For only a short while later, Mr. Gallagher once again drove through the drive thru, and again tried to pay for his food with cannabis. He was arrested and charged with possession of cannabis and DUI.
Unresolved in my mind, is the "why." Why is it so often Florida? Why would you ever conclude that McDonalds would take payment in cannabis? There is hunger, I suppose.
I'm puzzled. In my exploration of the "whys." I'm no further ahead.
Up a Tree Without a Paddle
Let's see if this story from closer to home can help me understand.
Now, Surrey is not Florida. It's cold in Surrey this time of year. Colder for one fellow who, to escape the police, climbed a tree.
The Surrey RCMP, who often show surprising tolerance and care for the suspects they deal with, went to speak to this particular suspect about some sort of domestic incident. Now, if you don't know, typically "speaking" to a suspect in such an incident means the police are going to conduct an arrest, but they'll be respectful and caring, and in most cases the suspect will be released in a matter of hours with a few conditions with which to abide. In this case, the suspect climbed up a tree and remained there for several hours, cold, not dressed for the weather, hanging onto a limb.
Eventually, of course, he came down. I mean, there are two options when it comes to a tree. My first thought when I heard this story was that the police might employ an Ingmar Bergman / George Washington approach and chop down that tree. But they are caring and tolerant and it appears they didn't want to cause this individual further stress. Eventually they talked him down. He didn't need to be afraid of the Surrey RCMP.
Oh goodness, I just realized I've made headway in my understanding of "why." Stupidity is a common feature in all humans -- you don't need to be a rocket scientist to see that, so I'm eliminating that from my consideration. What are we left with? Love, hunger and fear. Basic aspects of the human story.
Summing up then, in my time as a guest poster I have learned that Weird and Wacky Wednesdays isn't merely a collection of funny law stories. The "why" reveals it all. These are stories of human struggle which provide insight into what it means to be a human in our time, our era.
I encourage my gentle readers to take delight in the human story.
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, cannabis legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.