Weird Wild Stuff #2 Humans, and Other Animals

This month’s installment was written days before the actual deadline, because this first story is so stupid that I had to just jump in, immediately. To wit: In early January, the LAPD announced a phenomenon most rare: Two police officers were actually fired for official misconduct. Such harsh penalties are usually reserved for people who openly collaborate with gangs, steal drugs from the evidence locker or break sea turtle eggs–you know, the worst of the worst. In this case, their crime was more one of omission, as they failed to go deal with a reported robbery because—don’t even bother guessing—they were too busy playing Pokemon Go. 

Now, exhale, and let’s unpack: 1) People are still playing Pokemon Go, in 2022, and some of them are allowed to carry guns. 2) When the officers were asked about what happened, they said that they were only discussing Pokemon Go, even though their entire 20-minute excursion was being recorded in their car. 3) These men threw their careers away for the goddamned Snorlax—like, not even a good Pokemon. One can only assume that was NOT the Ramparts District. (It’s also worth noting that this case has nothing to do with the legendary case out of O’Fallon, Missouri five years ago, when a gang of rank scoundrels used the game to pick targets for armed robberies, no matter how much I wish the cases were related.)

Had their tardiness been attributed to the Popeye’s chicken sandwich, there would be no story here. Now, granted, Snorlax is a 4.5 out of 5, placing it firmly in Tier 2 on the Ultra League PVP List, but it’s not sexy and glamorous like Poliwrath, Charizard or Pidgeot. (I don’t know what any of that actually means, but I’m sure their police union rep in LA is already sick of hearing about it.) Quite frankly, they could’ve probably used PTO to hunt Pikachu, since clearly they can do almost anything they want. But all this really illustrates the great lie at the center of Pokemon: You don’t actually have to catch them all.

But enough about those guys. The new year is off to a very weird, very wild start, and there is no shortage of material on that front. Here are a just a few recent favorites:

A man was arrested January 20 in Deerfield Beach for violating his probation on multiple burglary charges. The fella spent almost a week in jail before the po-po peeped his fingerprints and discovered that they had locked up the wrong guy. Wrong birthdate, wrong Social Security number, wrong tattoos—actually, no tattoos at all, which admittedly is rare in Florida—as well as a 60-pound weight difference. Broward County officials blamed their counterparts in Palm Beach County for providing them with bogus information. 

But hey, it could be much worse: Consider the poor sap in Chicago who spent 17 years locked up for murder, only to be released just last month after police obtained a confession from the actual killer—his own twin brother. AWKWARD! The real killer confessed to his brother while serving a life sentence for shooting a child, but the homie never snitched, even though Illinois has no death penalty (thanks, Obama!), so it wouldn’t have made things any worse for his brother. He was his brother’s keeper, but that is Cook County’s job now.

Our final installment is actually an update to one of the weirdest stories I’ve ever seen, and this is me talking, so strap yourself in. An Alabama man was arrested after police raided his home and found weapons, body armor and crystal meth in his home. Nothing unusual about that, but they also found something else—a dang ol’ squirrel, who the suspect stands accused of having fed the meth to, while training it to be a [checks notes] “attack squirrel.” What in the name of Peacemaker is going on here? 

It’s funny, but animal cruelty is no joke. Similar things have happened in the past, but it usually involves pit bulls and cocaine. It does raise the question of what exactly the squirrel was being trained for. At least it wasn’t a chimpanzee, because a chimp on meth borders on godlike. The police simply released the meth-head attack squirrel into the wild, where it is now probably getting ready to run for Congress. I think its chances are pretty decent.


About Shelton Hull

Shelton Hull has been writing for Folio Weekly since 1997, but his resume goes back even further. He has written for almost every newspaper, magazine and zine in Northeast Florida, as well as publications like Orlando Weekly, Narrow GNV, Creative Loafing Tampa, Charleston City Paper, Ink19 and The Atlantic. He currently writes the "Folio Weed" column, which he created in 2018; he remains one of the widest-read and most influential cannabis writers in the world today. He also compiles material for "Weird Wild Stuff" column, and he previously wrote the legendary "Money Jungle" column for Folio Weekly from 1999 to 2009. He is a regular contributor to "First Coast Connect" on WJCT, as well as the Jacksonville Music Experience. He is a co-host of "The Contrast Project" and the "Bold City Civics" podcast. He is also a co-founder of the record label Bold City Music Productions. He can be reached at [email protected].