Humans tend to love a good "I told you so". We all knew Steve would crash into the nearest tree when he bought that car with a Slumber Party Barbie welded in place of the steering wheel, and precisely zero surprised eyebrows were raised when Chad's new party game called "A plastic bag full of scorpions or a condom?" ended up in the local news.
I'm not saying you should derive any schadenfreude-fueled "Yeah, that was bound to happen" satisfaction from the following stories. Though we both know you will, you monster. However, I am saying that it's pretty hard to look at them and wonder how anyone involved didn't see the end result coming.
Gary Kremen had a dream. He had been blowing a ton of money on 1-900 dating hotlines (remember those?), and figured that he might be able to make a few bucks for himself by creating a similar dating system for this newfangled "World Wide Web" thing that was starting to make the rounds. So he founded a company, and in 1995 he rolled out Match.com. If you've been near a computer or television in the past 20 years, you might have heard of it.
The problem was that the internet was still very much a nascent thing, and Kremen found it difficult to get users for the site. In an attempt to fix the problem, Gary started actively pestering people to join. He made his co-workers join Match.com. He made his friends join Match.com. He even got his girlfriend to create an account. At this point, fate's "stupid shit that must immediately backfire" alarm bell rang, and it rolled its sleeves up and grinned.
Yeah, Kremen's creation soon bit him in the ass, as his own girlfriend found another man through Match.com and left him.
The weird thing is that there's absolutely no way Kremen couldn't have seen that coming. Sure, if he didn't really believe in his system and was just counting on the gullibility of the customers for it to be successful, he could confidently have told his lady to give it a spin. But for all intents and purposes, the guy appears to have truly believed in his product. He painstakingly designed the site with women in mind. Which, as anyone who's ever tried online dating knows, is critical in keeping things from turning into a sausage extravaganza. He devised numerous little tweaks, like talking about body types instead of pounds. If he didn't believe that his site was the best thing ever to happen to dating, he was at least doing his level best to make it that, as proven by the way the site soon gained critical mass despite charging money for membership. Kremen looked at all that, turned, and said, "Hey, honey, why don't you go test drive my ultimate love detection tool? There's absolutely no way this decision could ever backfire in any way."
I will never understand why helmet laws are a divisive issue among motorcycle enthusiasts. As sweet as their rides are, bikers themselves almost inevitably look ridiculous by default regardless of whether they go with the Halloween costume style, all-out Hell 'n' leather look, or the riding suit that makes you look like a grown-ass baby. Often, a cool helmet is the sole saving grace of their look, let alone their life if something happens.
Yet, there's a biker subset who just wants to feel the wind in their hair, cranial safety be damned. One of the more vocal groups championing the issue is American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (Geddit? Because it spells ABATE?), who actively lobby for "motorcycle awareness and freedom." In July 2011, they decided to organize a 550-strong ride in order to combat the state of New York's ridiculous mandatory helmet use laws. They certainly succeeded in this demonstration. Only, the message was pretty much the exact opposite of what they intended.
And so it came to be that during the ride, participant Philip A. Contos hit his brakes, his bike fishtailed, and over the handlebars of his Harley he went. Two guesses as to whether he was wearing a helmet, or what part of him hit the pavement first. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Tragic as it is, what really makes this story for me is the utter, resigned lack of surprise by all parties. The medical professional who pronounced Contos dead proceeded to immediately point out that the biker, "Would've no doubt survived the accident had he been wearing a helmet." And the state trooper addressing the incident made a point of quoting that statement. Shit, even ABATE seemed like it was pretty much expecting something like this to occur. Here's a statement from Contos' chapter president: "ABATE is very saddened and still shocked about the fact that we've lost another rider in Philip and that our hearts go out to him and our prayers as well."
Note how they mentioned losing another rider, inadvertently admitting that these helmetlessness enthusiasts are, if not actually dropping like flies, at least expected to do so by the very organization championing the cause. Not that this or any other accident has done anything to make ABATE revise the part of their position statement that says, "Mandatory helmet laws do nothing to prevent accidents."
Philip Contos would probably agree that that's pretty cold.
Yeah yeah, I know. That fucking guy again. I'll keep this short and simple so we can move on to better things, OK?
The Assali family saw much good in Donald Trump. He promised a safe America. They certainly wanted a safe America. So they supported the billionaire's path to the presidency, and once he was in, it was time to make things secure. When you read it like that and ignore, well, everything else, it almost makes sense, right?
It's just that the Assalis hadn't quite figured out who the new administration was hellbent on keeping America safe for -- and more importantly, from. They found this out the hardest possible way in the final days of January 2017, when Trump cranked out his infamous executive order on immigration. Because the Assalis happened to be from Syria. And had family coming in.
According to the crowdfunding page set out to help their ongoing legal battle, the Syrian side of the Assali family had been trying to get visas since fucking 2003, and finally managed to obtain them in late 2016. Yeah, that's what people often forget about these guys -- that process can take well over a damn decade. Pooling together their funds, they decided to have one last Christmas with their loved ones in Syria before rejoining with the American side of the family at long last. Then, in late January, they finally embarked on the trip - - only for Trump to swoop in with his buzzsaw-having-a-stroke signature at the literal last minute.
At the airport, the arriving family was taken to the side. Their visas were insta-cancelled, and they were shoved on a flight to Qatar. Once in Qatar, they were rudely shown the door and forced to make their way back to Damascus. No phone calls, no rights, no translators, no explanation, nothing. Just as giant a middle finger as a certain tiny, grubby orange paw is able to give. Thanks for the support, guys!
Mario Tama/Getty Images
In 2016, Techspot reported a peculiar occurrence on the Nulled.IO board, one of the world's largest hacking forums: It had been hacked. The board is used to trade and sell credit card/leaked identity information and assorted tools of the trade. Yet on May 6, a 9.45 GB SQL file's worth of personal details of the site's users themselves were dumped online. Which, you'll note, can be a bit of a problem when you're a cyber-criminal preferring to remain anonymous.
And, really, the ingredients were there. Risk Based Security, who found the breach, noted that Nulled.IO had been using the IP.Board community forum, which has many known vulnerabilities. But there's also another, social layer to why the forum probably should have seen it coming. According to John Cheese, Cracked's resident expert on online forum chicanery, there's two ways this could have played out. Every forum, especially the large ones, eventually reaches a point in its history where it has a "fracture" moment. You've probably experienced those in some of your favorite online haunts yourself. One person pisses off another, people start taking sides, a small war breaks out, and soon the virtual air is thick with virtual turds flying in every direction. Eventually, there'll be a walkout in which a bunch of people leave the community, likely starting a spin-off of their own so they can all stay in touch and remain as awful as they want to be.
It's just something that happens often with big online communities. MMO guilds do it all the time. Bring the added ammunition of hacking ability in the mix, and man, of course something like this was bound to happen. Alternately, even if it wasn't because of a community fracture, hackers thrive on challenge. Eventually, someone is just going to get bored and think, "I wonder if I can hack the actual hacker site?" Which, evidently, they could.
In November 2011, the body of Damon Galyardt was found in a ditch in Barton County, Kansas. Strangely, his shooting would go unsolved until 2015. Goddammit, that was a depressing start for an entry. Quick, think about Labrador puppies! As a palate cleanser.
You'll notice that I used the word "strangely" when referring to the length of time it took to solve the case. I didn't say that because it's weird that a murder case may drag on for years and years. I'm fully aware that they do that, as I've carved myself a nice niche writing about that exact thing. I'm saying that I find it odd that it took anything more than 0.5 seconds to solve the case because Damon happened to be acquainted with a dude who had a massive tattoo that literally said "MURDER" on his neck. Yet, it took the investigators a good four years to exchange glances and go, "Heeeeyyyy. Remember that guy with the death neck? That could be a...Oh my god."
That's Jeffrey Wade Chapman, a man of questionable body ink choices and even more questionable interests. Specifically, interests that he dabbled in in November 2011. Because he totally killed the guy. Once he was brought in, his defense didn't even bother to deny it. Instead, they opted for the tried and tested, "It was, uh, self-defense?" route that seldom does many favors for people who have paid money to become walking billboards for, as Merriam-Webster defines it, "The crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought."
To their credit, Chapman and his lawyers realized the absurdity of the situation. He made a huge noise about wanting to get the tattoo covered or removed before trial because he felt it would make the jury prejudiced against him. The Sheriff's office responded to his requests for some sweet tattoo parlor time with what amounted to, "LOL, just wear turtlenecks, nerd." The story doesn't say whether Chapman ultimately opted for a tasteful ascot or a giant fake ZZ Top beard, but whatever his choice of nutjob tattoo-hiding apparel, it definitely didn't work. He was promptly slapped with a 25-year sentence for first-degree premeditated murder. So, yeah, he was probably right that the tattoo didn't exactly do him any favors. Though I can't help but feel that the actual shooting and killing people may have helped with that a little.
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