My neighbor was carjacked yesterday, a few blocks from here, on the other side of the freeway. It’s the nature of our neighborhood that I didn’t recognize her talking head on the 11 p.m. news, didn’t recognize her common name, and only knew it was her when they flashed her distinctive vanity plate toward the end of the report. Ah, well.
What made this carjacking newsworthy, as opposed to all the others in the Naked City yesterday, was the fact the perps were pre-teens. Srsly. One was about 11 and the other about 12, and my neighbor said her first reaction, when they demanded her keys, was to tell them to run along. Then one showed the gun in his waistband, and life imitated “The Wire.” She said when they drove away in her big Escalade, they could hardly see over the wheel.
Without blaming the victim in any way whatsoever, this is why I would never drive an Escalade, or any other luxury SUV, without Kwame Kilpatrick’s security detail rolling on backup. Not in the stolen-car capital of North America. Just too tempting. Three or four years ago, their last Escalade was stripped of all four of its tires and wheels (replacement cost: about four grand) in their driveway, by one of those Nascar-type theft crews that can get the job done in the time it takes you to pour a cup of coffee. Nice ride, but not worth the trouble.
Insurance is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Which is why it costs so much.
I once asked a local cop who’d done time on the car-theft task force what happens to all the stolen cars around here. Are they rolled into shipping containers and sent off to Moscow? Stripped in chop shops? Stacked on car carriers and taken out of Michigan entirely? Hardly. Most go a few miles into Detroit, where, depending on the thief’s skill and connections, they will be parked somewhere and ineptly hacked at, like a buffalo carcass on the prairie. Kids take the tires and wheels, because they’re easy to get off and you can roll them to the local shops that will buy them, no questions asked. Other thieves remove the air bags, the scrappers go underneath and saw off the catalytic converter, the electronics and sound system and so on find other buyers, and finally the carcass turns up crippled and worthless, maybe torched. A chop shop requires skilled labor, he said, and a network of buyers. Just as James Bond-style cat burglars were outnumbered by strong-arm home invaders, so too is the chop shop more a fixture of the movies than reality. Although they do exist, as our own J.C. Burns, whose 10-year-old Honda Civic disappeared from his Atlanta driveway a few years back, can tell you. Those are reliable, long-lived cars. Parts are valuable, and decade-old antitheft devices easily detoured.
So that was yesterday in my world. What about yours?
Which seems a good segue into the bloggage. In a dispatch from that other capital of criminal weirdness — South Florida — we meet a man who settled a grudge with a squirt bottle of Roundup:
In the front yard, Ewing gunned down flowers and bushes, the report stated. To get to the plants in the backyard, he filled water balloons with the weed killer and tossed them onto his neighbors property. Ewing estimated the landscaping damage to be about $250.
The victim owed him about $200, so it sounds like he got his money’s worth.
Have you ever watched a surgeon operate? I have. The first thing you notice is how all that “delicate hands of a surgeon” crap is just that. It’s more like stuffing a turkey, as this DetNews story on the life of a Motor City trauma surgeon points out:
Patton’s most important tool appears to be his right index finger. That digit acts as his probe, his periscope, his divining rod, his cork. He can remember on more than one occasion saving the life of a gunshot victim who arrived at the hospital in the back of a sedan. He simply plugged the hole with his finger.
“Feeling is believing,” Patton tells a glassy-eyed intern as he fishes around in a knife wound in the back of a man’s knee, trying to augur whether it’s damage to the vein or the artery.
Anything else? Doesn’t look like it. Now to hop to the shower — more office hours. Today I’m bringing a lunch.