Once in a blue moon, you stumble over a true crime story that gives you faith in the theory of Natural Selection. The human gene pool is also suffering from the ravages of global warming and the contents are evaporating at a rapid clip. The meth-riddled, video game shortened attention, deficit disordered strands of DNA left in the muck at the bottom reflect a dumbing down of society. What worries me, pirating a line from the song, I’m Not Sick, But I’m Not Well, by Flag Pole Sitta, is, “Only stupid people are breeding.”
So, gather ’round whilst I do my best to reaffirm your faith in good old Uncle Darwin and his oft criticized theory of Natural Selection. For our experiment, we shall “observe” the subject in his natural environment. Our subject is Jimmy Jenkins, and let’s call him J.J. shall we? That is not his real name, his identity has been changed to protect those responsible for this little genetic misfit.
J.J. began as a petty criminal. Tall, lanky and a little mean, his encounters with the criminal justice system began as a teen, when he started burglarizing homes during school recesses. He’d sneak in through partially open windows and prowl around inside, looking for items he could sell, but the most frequent target was the liquor cabinet.
He continued his pattern of daylight break-ins until, one day, he was discovered passed out cold, on the living room floor when the occupants came home. A short stint in juvenile hall, alcohol treatment and supervised juvenile probation followed.
J.J. became a fixture in juvenile court, with booze related violations, petty theft, and truancy. His home life was a mess, a single drug addicted mother with two other children, both of whom promised to follow in J.J.’s footsteps. The local Child Protective Services removed all the kids from the mother, who eagerly surrendered her troublesome progeny.
Foster home placement gave J.J. stability for the first time in his life, but by that time, the damage from a life of neglect, booze and dope was done. He “graduated” from the juvenile system, lost his foster home placement and the support from his probation officer. He was an adult now.
All J.J. knew was stealing and drinking, and usually the two went together. Ten days in jail for drunk in public, another ten days for drunk driving, and thirty days jail time for trespass. The old patterns came back and new arrests piled up, one after another. J.J. failed to appear for a court date and the judge issued an arrest warrant, something not uncommon on a court docket full of drunks and petty thieves.
Turns out that J.J. was on a bender and planned to break into a vacation cabin to pilfer their liquor supplies. Closed up for the winter, all the windows and doors were locked up tight. Undeterred, J.J. propped a ladder against the side of the cabin and hefted his wiry frame onto the roof. Maybe he thought there was a skylight he could force open. The only structure on the cabin roof was a brick chimney.
That’s right boys and girls, our J.J. saw the chimney as his ticket inside. He spiderman climbed the brick face and stood on the very top before he lowered one leg, then the other, and wriggled down the flue. Thin enough to slip down the smooth edges of the chimney, J.J. hung onto the upper rim of the flue until his body was fully extended. Then he let go.
J.J. dropped down four to five feet until he became wedged, stuck deep down inside the soot charred chimney flue.
The property owners came for a check on their vacation get-away and opened up the cabin. Immediately, they knew something was wrong. A single tennis shoe lay in the fireplace and a horrible smell wafted through the cabin.
The Medical Examiner would later say that J.J. died of hypothermia. The entire brick structure was pulled apart to extract his body. Official estimates said he was trapped in the chimney for at least ten days before his body was discovered. Long enough for J.J. to tear away all the skin from his fingertips, clawing at the slick sides of the flue.
A Sheriff’s Deputy who responded to the scene told bystanders that J.J. “caught the flue.”
Natural Selection does, in fact, exist. Whether J.J. ever had a chance in life is debatable. Did his self-centered shrew of maternal influence doom him to a shallow, short life? Or was it the misfiring neurons and rancid DNA stew that caused his early demise?
While J.J. is no longer with us, thousands of other felony stupid criminals wander around like human bumper cars in a barbed-wire ring, oblivious to all the warning signs. Our hope is to not be in the way when they self destruct.
In the interest of justice, I will continue to share the ill-fated exploits of failed criminals from the archives. If you have a story, you think others would appreciate, send me an e-mail. Please include the details (no names, to protect the stupid), including a link to the news outlet reporting the story, and I’ll post it here, giving you credit for the collar of a Felony Stupid Criminal.