April 3, 2013

Charles Oliver: What if only criminals can have umbrellas?

Charles Oliver

— • Michael Di Marzo had just finished some errands and was walking to his Olympia, Wash., home when he noticed the helicopter overhead. It almost seemed to be following him. In fact, it was following him. Police showed up later at his home, telling him that someone had reported that a man in a black ski mask carrying an assault rifle had been seen near a school. Officials put three nearby schools on partial lockdown, and police quickly pegged Di Marzo as the man the person described. But it turns out the black ski mask was just a watch cap, and the assault rifle was the 15-inch umbrella Di Marzo had been carrying.

• Nova Scotia, Canada, officials have banned 2,966 words from personalized license plates. The ban includes many curse words and sexual terms. But it also includes “Allah,” “God” and “Jesus.”

• New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has asked the state attorney general to investigate the Department of Youth and Family Services. Two DYFS agents and local police in tactical gear visited the Carney Point home of Shawn Moore demanding to see his firearms after Moore posted a photo of his 11-year-old son Josh holding a .22-caliber rifle on Facebook. Josh has a state hunting license. When police officers admitted they had no warrant, Moore told them to leave his house. But Moore says one of the DYFS agents threatened to take his children if he didn’t cooperate. Christie says he wants to see if the agents or the police officers violated any laws.

• Meanwhile, Jersey City, N.J., Assemblyman Charles Mainor has come under criticism for two “likes” on his Facebook page. Mainor, a Democrat, liked “Big Booty Freaks” and “You Got Knocked the ---- Out.” The latter features videos of people getting knocked out, and the former, well, you can probably guess. When questioned by local media, Mainor at first denied liking the pages, then admitted that he did. But he said the only reason anyone was making an issue of it is because of his strong support for gun control.

• I recently wrote about a former Texas state trooper who was fired and now faces sexual assault charges for performing a roadside cavity search on two women who’d been stopped for littering. Dale Roberts, executive director of the Columbia Police Officers Association in Missouri, apparently thinks that’s a really humorous story. “It’s called Customer Service! We just did it so they wouldn’t have to make the trip all the way downtown,” he posted on Facebook. The association is a chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, a union for law enforcement officers.

• The annual Easter egg hunt at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Wash., turned into a brawl thanks to a couple of the mothers. One woman reportedly pushed aside a child so that her own child could get at the eggs. The second child’s mother then stepped in and the two women began fighting and one of them got a bloody nose.

Charles Oliver is a staff writer for The Daily Citizen.