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Timothy Reid, 39, was shot and killed in Atlanta after a family altercation on February 15. According to news reports, Reid's wife confronted him as to why he had failed to give her Valentine candy and, receiving no adequate explanation, pulled her gun and shot him in the leg. Reid then drew his own gun and shot her in the stomach. Their son then rushed to the scene, pulled his gun, and fired three shots at his father, killing him.

The Continuing Crisis

A 28-year-old industrial engineer was fired from his job in Cookeville, Tennessee, after a November incident in which he was charged with indecent exposure (a charge that was later dropped). He was apprehended outdoors at a mall, stark naked. His explanation was that his car had broken down and that, despite a driving rainstorm, he needed to get underneath the car to see what was wrong. He was afraid of muddying the seat covers, so he took off his clothes--including underwear and socks--and laid them across the seat.

A contest drawing for a 1983 Pontiac Firebird at a store in Sherman, Texas, in February was thrown out after it was discovered that the winner's name appeared on 2,000 of the 2,200 ballots. Suspicion was aroused when the winner also received the second, third, and fourth prizes.

In February, the Doskocil Sausage Company of Hutchinson, Kansas, issued a nationwide recall of more than 100,000 pounds of frozen pork pizza topping that it said might contain fragments of light bulbs.

Teachers and more than 800 students at T.J. Elder Primary School in Sandersville, Georgia, were driven from the school in January by the stench of droppings from hundreds of bats that had taken refuge in the school's lunchroom and had resisted being removed.

A man robbed the Westfarms Mall bank in West Hartford, Connecticut, in February and then made his getaway on a local, on-time bus that had a stop just outside the bank.

Ward Rafay, 28, was arrested in Los Angeles in February on nine counts of child molesting two weeks after he reported to police that someone had stolen his video camera. Rafay apparently had left an incriminating tape in the camera, and the thief, after playing it and recognizing the minor, sent the tape to the girl's mother, who had Rafay arrested.

An 18-year-old man was treated for a knife wound at a Salt Lake City hospital in February after he boasted to a friend about his new bulletproof vest and invited the friend to take a stab at him.

The newly hired personal chef of rock star Prince abruptly resigned in January, complaining that it was beneath his dignity to work for someone whose favorite dishes are macaroni and cheese and cake-mix cakes.

The building housing the fire department of Delaplaine, Arkansas, was destroyed by fire in January because fire fighters could not get through the electronically operated doors to put it out.

A winter art exhibit in Berkeley, California, was organized by a group called Chain Smokers Against Apartheid.

Gary Holloway left his house near Atlanta on Super Bowl Sunday to keep a date at his wife's mother's to watch the game on TV, despite the fact that he knew his wife had shot herself to death two hours before in their home. Holloway watched the game without telling his mother-in-law and then returned home, finally reporting the suicide to police the next morning.

Seeds of Our Destruction

Dr. Robert J. Sheuplein, head of the toxicology division of the Food and Drug Administration, told a February meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that Americans are about 98 times more likely to develop cancer from the foods they eat than from the pesticides and additives in the food.

According to University of Texas finance professor Steven Magee, the nation's 500,000 lawyers are responsible for a $500 billion per year decrease in the U.S. gross national product.

A 1989 United Nations study disclosed that more than 600 tons of bodily waste (from six million people and two million dogs) is released onto the ground and into the air every day around Mexico City and that deforestation has eliminated much of the foliage that previously prevented fecal dust from contaminating the city. The colonies of microorganisms are so numerous that scientists' equipment lacks the precision necessary to count them.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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