News & Politics

2009 Darwin Awards: Crime Down? Criminal Stupidity is Up.


Crime is reportedly down, so does that mean there are fewer criminals? Maybe criminals are just getting more stupid. Two co-winners of the just-announced 2009 Darwin Awards — “Honoring those who improve the species . . . by accidentally removing themselves from it!” — are evidence.

Usually, criminals don’t even win the annual Darwins, but a couple of bank robbers in Belgium were the exception.

As the Darwin folks explain:

Two bank robbers attempting to make a sizeable withdrawal from an ATM died when they overestimated the quantity of dynamite needed for the explosion. The blast demolished the building the bank was housed in. Nobody else was in the building at the time of the attack.

Robber One was rushed to the hospital with severe head trauma; he died shortly after arrival. Investigators initially assumed that his accomplice had managed a getaway, but the second bungler’s body was excavated from the debris twelve hours later. Would-be Robbers One and Two weren’t exactly impoverished — their getaway car was a BMW.

Surprisingly, no New Yorkers made it to the top of the lists this year. See the jump for past New York top nominees.

Past New Yorkers heralded for their stupidity include a 19-year-old crushed to death in 1996 by his hungry pet python. The guy had practically starved the poor 12-foot-long Burmese python by giving it nothing more than a dead chicken the whole previous week. Herpetologists speculated that the teen had forgotten to wash the chicken smell from his hands. The death “looks accidental,” cops said at the time. Really?

In February 2008, a 50-year-old bird hunter in upstate New York stopped for a smoke, and his dog found a deer’s leg bone. The guy tried to take the bone away, but the dog wouldn’t give it up. So the hunter took his loaded shotgun and started swinging it like a club at his disobedient dog. The shotgun struck the ground and fired, fatally wounding the hunter in the stomach.

Way back in 1988, a 34-year-old New York man injected cocaine directly into his penis. But his raging hard-on wouldn’t subside and he was hospitalized. On the third day, his penis suddenly went flaccid, and blood started gushing into other parts of his body. Coagulation killed tissue in various areas, so he was transferred to the burn unit, where doctors amputated both of his legs above the knees and nine of his ten fingers, to stop the spread of gangrene.

His penis fell off by itself.


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