News of the Weird
*Prominent Christian conservative psychologist Paul Cameron told Rolling Stone magazine in a March interview that he feared gay sex would supplant heterosexual sex unless a vigilant society repressed it. "Marital sex tends toward the boring," he said. "Generally, it doesn't deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does." If all one seeks is an orgasm, he said, "the evidence is that men do a better job on men, and women on women." "[H]omosexuality," he said, "seems too powerful to resist."
*In February, based on a prosecutor's complaint that a boy, Ayman Khadari, had roughed up a 2-year-old neighbor girl, a judge in Alexandria, Egypt, declared the boy (who was not in court) guilty of assault. The judge sentenced the boy to six months in jail and instructed the prosecutor to have him arrested. The complaint had not stated the boy's exact age, and only when the father brought him to an appeals court to challenge the ruling was it discovered that the newly convicted hoodlum was only 18 months old. (The girl's parents, who instigated the complaint, had long been feuding with the boy's parents.)
Teachers from Hell
*In August the mother of high school student Justin Burnett filed a lawsuit in Chicago against the school board and shop teacher Philip Rush, who had admitted shocking disruptive students by hooking them up to a spark plug and a current-producing crank, sometimes, according to the lawsuit, for as long as 30 seconds. According to the school superintendent, Rush said the disciplinary stunt was a "teaching tool" for kids to see how electricity worked.
*In Wichita Falls, Texas, former elementary school principal Terry Hitt said in October he would challenge the state's attempt to revoke his teaching certificate. He said he had a teaching ability that was a "gift from God," despite his having admitted earlier in the year that he had stolen his students' prescription Ritalin, melted it down and shot up with it.
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*In Lop Buri, Thailand, in November, teacher Sombat Boon-namma was accused of punishing seven students by forcing them to hold their hands over a candle's flame until burned badly enough that they required hospitalization. Ms. Sombat said she was merely trying to narrow down the suspects in a recent theft and thought that an innocent person would have no fear of the flame. And the Cairo, Egypt, daily newspaper al-Akhbar reported in December that a teacher in a suburban elementary school had been accused of punishing a rowdy ten-year-old boy by forcing him to stare at the sun for such a long time that he suffered retina damage.
The Judicial Temperament
*In road-rage incidents in Rochester, New York, in February and Delaware, Ohio, in June, the alleged maniacs were judges. Rochester Judge William Bristol, reportedly miffed that a confused driver had stopped in the middle of the road, was accused of pounding on her windshield "like a lunatic" and following her home so that he could tell police her address. In Ohio, Judge Michael Hoague was convicted of threatening a 24-year-old woman whose car he said he had observed being driven recklessly. According to the woman, Judge Hoague had tailgated her at high speeds while yelling profanities, and he later ordered her to his courtroom despite the fact that no charge had been filed against her.
-- By Chuck Shepherd
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