2018 Top Ten Darwin Awards
Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.
# 10 Road-Rage-Aholics
(20 February 2018, Poland) Darwin Double! After a road collision near Stary Krzew, two men emerged from their damaged cars and began arguing. The argument grew into a physical fight...then shrank down to bloodstains on the asphalt when the men lurched into the adjacent lane of traffic. A lorry weighed in on the fight, permanently terminating the road-rage between a 29-year-old from Krakow and a 40-year-old from Zambrów, Victims of their own aggression, the men are Poster Children for Meditation Outreach.
# 9 GEOcaching Out!
(9 June 2018, Czech Republic) Meteorology warning of storms and torrential rains did not deter four geo-cache seekers from climbing into an underground waterway in search of sunken treasure. "If there's a rain, no drains." A gigantic wave in the underground channel caused havoc with their quest, washing two survivors all the way into the Vltava River near Prague! These fortunate seekers were unharmed, somehow saved from a tragic fate. However, two others were less fortunate in their folly.
A 27-year-old female geo-cache seeker was discovered beneath the Jirasek Bridge, drowned and washed there by the flooded underground creek. An additional male member of their party has not yet been located.
Complicating the search for the last man is the fact that there are no mobile signals or transmitters in the gigantic underground channel.
# 8 Abu Hamam
(30 January 2018, Gaza) A sexagenarian was examining his personal weapon in his home when he inadvertently discharged it into his face! Twenty-one days after accidentally shooting himself, Abu Hamam, 62, succumbed to the self-inflicted head-bang and died clutching a Darwin Award. But, who is Abu Hamam?
Abu is known to the world as Imad al-Alami, a founding member of Hamas, a militant group that has been the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip since 2007. Mr Alami served as Hamas' main envoy to Iran, a military and financial backer, during several wars with Israel. Although declared a specially designated global terrorist by the United States, in recent years Abu Hamam was a key negotiator in Hamas ceasefire talks with Israel, and in the 2011 release of a captured Israeli soldier.
"Hamas was Abu Hamam and Abu Hamam was Hamas," said Hamas Politburo Chief Haniyeh. One would assume that a senior member of Hamas knows how to handle a gun--yet Abu's incautious "personal weapons inspection" was unexpectedly daft. This Darwin Award's for you, Mr. Alami.
# 7 Reticulated Python
(28 January 2018, Selangor Malaysia) Zaim Kosnan spotted a twelve-foot reticulated python dozing on the side of the road. "That sizeable snake is worth money!" The 35-year-old prepared for this windfall with gloves and a sickle. Sweet success! Swiftly was the first round won, and triumphantly Zaim held the reptile's head high as he transported it home by motorbike. Picture that crazy scene.
Swinging in the air, the displeased captive made a counter-move and wrapped its body round and round its captor, constricting in self-defense. Zaim swerved off the road and the results of Round Two became apparent to passers-by the next morning. They killed The 3.5 meter snake to free the man's body, and a post-mortem confirmed his death by strangulation.
Zaim Khalis was described as a quiet person who kept to himself.
# 6 A Gun Named 'Lorena'
(27 Nov 2018, Arizona) The Buckeye Police Department reports that a man accidentally shot his own sausage while shopping in the meat aisle at Walmart. Arizona law does not require a permit (nor a holster for that matter) to carry a firearm, so our hero felt free to carry his piece "commando-style" (unholstered) beneath his waistband. When the unholstered gun drifted down into his jeans, he reached in and pulled the trigger while repositioning his weapon. This loose cannon's low hanging fruit didn’t have a chance. Firearm supporters can add this event to the arsenal of ammunition against gun control. Guns really do make a difference.
Darwin Award? Odds are, our gun nut (pun intended) shredded his ability to breed and wins the uncommon Living Darwin Award: still alive but unable to reproduce. Otherwise, his reward is an Honorable Mention -- "better luck next time." We await further information.
# 5 Dead On Valentines Day
(14 February 2018, Berlin) A 19-year-old and his soon-to-be-ex were walking along the beautiful Havel River, quarreling. Unable to win his conversational point, the frustrated man suddenly shoved the woman into the icy river, jumping in to push her under again and again!
But she could swim. He could not...
She swam safely to land and quickly recovered from hypothermia. He sank and lost consciousness in the 2°C waters, forever forgetting the quarrel, and was pulled out by water police and transported to Charité Virchow Clinic in Berlin. The attacker fell into a carceral coma, and an arrest warrant was issued against him for "attempted homicide for low motives" (in German, "Versuchten Heimtückemordes aus niederen Beweggründen.")
The crime was committed on December 19th, and the perpetrator died on February 14th--an ironic date indeed--from irreversible brain damage.
Usually no Darwin Award is granted when an innocent bystander is injured. In this case we make a rare exception, because the woman fully recovered (and is perforce better off without this madman) while the diabolical and drowned deed-doer was Darwinian-dumb.
# 4 Focus On The Bear
(5 May 2018, Odisha, India) Driving home from a wedding, Prabhu Bhatara idled the car on the roadside to relieve himself in the woods. From a squatting position he spied an INJURED bear--but instead of calling the authorities to help the bear, he opted to get a #selfie with the distressed animal. Meanwhile, instead of intervening, the passengers in his car pulled out their mobiles and filmed the carnage...
As he neared the bear, the passengers advised him against his plan. Mr. Bhatara, however, was determined to fulfill his selfie mission. Once he was within reaching distance, though, the bear was not as injured as it seemed (or it was just having a bad hair day) and lunged forward, pinning Mr. Bhatara to the ground, "killing him on the spot," according to Forest ranger Dhanurjaya Mohapatra.
Then, perhaps disgusted at this epic display of homo-sapien apathy, a stray dog joined the fray in an attempt to save the man, and tried to fight off the bear! The bear, however, seemed to believe that the world had one too many selfie-seeking humans and finished off poor Mr. Bhatara.
According to media reports, once the body was retrieved, forest officials treated the bear for its injuries. The dog, although probably still disgusted, was unharmed.
# 3 Wacky Welder
(3 September 2018, New Zealand) Sometimes the fastest method results in the deadliest outcome. The tale of Howard Miller, 39, professional welder and Darwin Award Winner, illustrates the pitfalls of ignoring high school chemistry with a time-saving invention. Always helpful, Miller spent his last moments helping a friend weld an exhaust pipe onto a classic Holden Kingswood sedan. He arrived at the garage shed with an experimental welding kit: an LPG bottle, similar to a propane tank, in which he had mixed both components that make up oxy-acetylene welding gas: acetylene and oxygen.
Now, that last detail should send a shiver down any welder's spine! Professional welders know that these components are kept in separate tanks because, when combined, they burn hot enough to cut metal. A tank of mixed acetylene/oxygen + no flow regulator = an accident waiting to happen.
Like a scene from Breaking Bad, Mr. Miller had unwittingly constructed a lethal explosive!
Once Miller unveiled his jury-rigged device, his friend recognized this dangerous equation and repeatedly warned that it was crazy! Finally he high-tailed it out of the shed while Miller, undeterred by a bit of panic, attached a torch head straight onto the bottle and lit the welding tip.
Sans regulator, the flame crept back into the bottle and the inevitable explosion flattened the shed, which also contained about twenty litres of paint thinner and gasoline. The force of the explosion was so intense it shattered the windows of neighboring properties.
Needless to say, the friend is in need a new car.
The deceased winner, a gentle and generous man, would surely be grateful to know that no one else was hurt in the fracas. And as a consolation prize, his tragic experiment will benefit others by demonstrating a potential consequence of skipping chemistry class.
# 2. Mind The Cone Zone
(8 March 2018, New Jersey) A Wanaquer man died in a vehicle fire after he drove around barricade cones and onto live power wires in Franklin Lakes. A good son, Anthony G. was en-route to his father's house to shovel the driveway. After the second nor'easter storm in a week, hundreds of thousands were left without power. Utility crews worked overtime to deal with downed trees and electric lines. Traffic snarls and frustrated motorists were everywhere.
Anthony did not want to lose time to a detour! According to police, our winner simply navigated around bright orange traffic cones warning motorists of a hazardous downed wire on Route 208.
Responding to calls, officers arrived at 9AM to find the vehicle fully engulfed in flames. A live power line was sputtering in the roadway near the vehicle. The fire totally gutted the car, and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Ironically this Darwin Award winner was employed as a New York City electrician.
And finally, the Winner is:
# 1. The Missionary Position
(14 November 2018, Andaman Islands, India) John Allen Chau, a self proclaimed world explorer inspired by Livingston and Jesus, was killed by the very tribe of natives he was offering eternal life. According to the BBC in Delhi, Chau bribed six fishermen to ferry him to the off-limits island so he could offer the Sentinelese tribe gifts of scissors, a soccer ball, and Jesus.
In a letter he wrote to his family, this Vancouver resident and Alabama native said he wanted to make contact with the 60,000 year old tribe because "The eternal [life] of this [Sentinelese] tribe is at hand."
He paddled to the island in a kayak and was immediately "attacked by arrows but continued walking," stated the global news agency AFP. The fishermen then witnessed the natives "tying a rope around his neck and dragging his body" along the shore. They were clearly rejecting his gifts.
The tribe, the most isolated on earth, has taken a well documented, zero tolerance approach to visitors since a British occupation almost wiped them out during the 1800's. It's no surprise Chau's remains remain unrecovered.
Was he a martyr as friends claim on Instagram? a missionary according to his parents? or just a selfish selfie seeker? or a genocidal maniac bringing the tribe life threatening disease, as his bible quote from Revelations 7 indicates? He said he wanted to "see them around the throne of God worshiping in their own language as Revelation 7:9-10 states." We'll never truly know the answer, since the tribe doesn't seem to have updated their social media accounts in quite some time.