Knuckleheads Of The Day (New England Edition)

I hope Bill will forgive me for stealing his theme, but it just fits so well here.

First up is Frederick Sullivan of Methuen, Massachusetts. Last year, he was busted for driving off without paying for his gas at a New Hampshire station.

At least eight times.

He kept coming back to the same station with the same car, and finally got caught.

Well, he’s back in the news again. Back in New Hampshire, back with the same car, but with a new racket: stealing lottery tickets.

By the Union Leader’s count, he’s currently awaiting trial on at least two dozen charges. Here’s hoping he’s kept behind bars this time.

Next up is Angel Hernandez, of Waltham, Massachusetts. Mr. Hernandez was driving through town when he was busted for drunk driving.

Well, he wasn’t exactly driving at the time of his arrest. He was stopped, as he’d just plowed his truck into a building.

More specifically, the Waltham Police Department.

Finally, we have a collective Knucklehead award for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Back in October of 2006, one of their employees wore a Halloween costume to work. That was no big deal, in and of itself — employees who don’t work directly with the public are allowed to do so. The employee, Jaime Garmendia, wore a Goth-style costume, with glitter in his hair, black nail polish, makeup, and a noose around his neck. Garmendia said it was a tribute to his Mexican heritage and their “Day Of The Dead.”

Well, T manager Bob Stoetzel didn’t see anything wrong with it. Nor did any of the other employees who saw Garmendia in his costume.

But some T officials did hear about it, and did the only right and logical thing: they fired Stoetzel.

The whole notion of a noose being a flagrant symbol of racism and racial oppression, it seems to me, to be a relatively new development. When I was growing up, it was associated with outlaws and the Old West. Then, in school, I learned that the last execution in New Hampshire was by hanging. A little over a year ago, Saddam Hussein was introduced to the practical applications of applied topology of ropes.

But now it’s become the new, hip thing. It’s a lot tidier than a burning cross, and lacks the icky foreign implications of the swastika.

And woe to anyone who’s just a little behind on the latest long-standing symbols of hate.

Such as Mr. Stoetzel — whose sole offense was seeing the costume in its entirety and shrugging, instead of going into hysterics at the sight of a knotted rope.

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