It’s certainly been an outrageous year. In this, our final Outrage for 1997, we bid you adieu with a review of the year’s outrages.
In March, our first month of publication, we told you about the beautiful new public library being built in Miami. The planners thought of everything — a great location, a beautiful building, state of the art facilities. After spending $14 million, they realized they had forgotten to include any money for books.
In April we told you the story of Howard Steven Ault, the child rapist and murderer who was repeatedly caught, and then released, again and again. While on probation for the attempted rape of a six-year-old girl he hit his pregnant wife over the head with a piece of lumber. He was later identified as the rapist of an 11-year-old girl, but was not arrested. He went on to kill another 11-year-old girl and her 7-year-old sister.
May was a month just overflowing with outrage. A judge who robbed a bank was a contender for Outrage of the Month. Another contender was naval aviator Paula Coughlin, the warrior who was awarded five million dollars after she was groped by her fellow naval officers. But our winners for the month ended up not being either judges or millionaire “victims,” but teachers. One middle school teacher in Brooklyn had sex with one of his 13-year-old students. A Coney Island teacher was charged with molesting two students, one of whom was a mentally handicapped 10-year-old girl. But our favorite teacher is the substitute teacher in Philadelphia who sat at the front of the room while two 13-year old boys dragged a severely mentally retarded 13-year-old girl behind a blackboard and raped her.
June featured the good, clean joys of sport, motherhood, and peace. Mike Tyson set the tone for the month by biting off the ear of his opponent in a championship boxing match. A 19-year-old New Jersey high school student went to the prom, gave birth, threw her live baby in the trash can, and then headed out to the dance floor to boogie. United Nations’ “peacekeeping” forces in Somalia were charged with torturing children and raping native women.
July was “big heart” month. What could better prove the fact that the criminal justice system in the U.S. has a big heart than the fact that known rapists and killers keep getting released so they can try, try, again. Frank Moreno was paroled and released at least three times before his most recent incarceration for rape and robbery. In Texas young boys who sexually assault their own little sisters are sent back home to try again. And Montie Rissel is eligible for parole despite having admitted to the murder and rape of five women.
August was a wonderfully outrageous month around the world. In New York cops brutally tortured Abner Louima, a Haitian refugee. Egyptian fathers proved who’s boss by beheading or setting on fire their own daughters who married without parental consent. And three citizens of Yemen asserted their rightful claim to Mars by filing suit against NASA for trespassing.
In September we began our Outrage Crusade Against Spam. We also joined in a successful battle to stop the government from spying by intercepting e-mail correspondence. September’s outrages also included the frat boy who drank himself to death and the photographers who swarmed over the dying body of Princess Diana to get a few juicy pictures.
In America insanity is institutionalized in the legal system. We brought you the story of Alonzo Jackson and friends, who were awarded $1 million when Jackson was forced to take off his shirt. But that was chump change compared to the $262 million awarded to the Jimenez family. The parents of Sergio Jimenez blamed Chrysler for the death of their son, despite the fact that they ran a red light and didn’t bother to put their boy in a seatbelt.
October’s international insanity peaked in Algeria, where 60,000 people have been killed in bizarre religious massacres. Always looking for a sensible solution, The Outrage proposed the return of dueling as a means of conflict resolution.
In November we brought you the story of the college professors who thought that killing infants was, really, not such a bad thing. (Apparently in agreement with June’s Mother of the Month.) To celebrate Veterans Day we compared the paltry compensation which disabled veterans receive with that awarded by the American court system to other “victims.”
In December we warned you of the cominghorrors of data addiction. A number of readers sent e-mail to San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown after the DO wrote about Brown’s defense of the hoops player who assaulted his coach. Brown responded by saying he had been “quoted out of context.” Nope. As Christmas is the season of Santa Claus and gift giving we just had to tell you about the chairman of Occidental Petroleum, Ray Irani. Oxy’s board paid Irani $95 million to reward him for his abysmal performance.
Well, that’s all for 1997. We’re going to hide under the covers until this year fades from memory. We’ll be back in January, ready for another year of folly and injustice, rape, murder, and mayhem. We hope you’ve enjoyed our 1997 Outrages. Next year we’ll
attempt to answer our perennial question: “Can things really get any worse?”