John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How dumb can you get?

Stupidity used to be defined, at least in Baltimore, by the guys who decided to rob a gun store on Harford Road in Parkville. They attached a chain to the barred window of the store, the other end to the bumper of their pickup truck. They intended to floor the accelerator and pull the bars out, smash into the store, and make off with a couple of armloads of guns before police arrived. But the bars held; the bumper gave way. In a panic, they sped off, leaving the bumper, with the license plate, attached to the chain. They were arrested the next day.

So it would take a lot to be dumber than that. But perhaps you have nominees.

Such anyone who refuses to drop the knife or gun when confronted by an armed police officer.

Or the dolt who published a “Should Obama be killed?” poll on Facebook — who can expect a visit from the Secret Service momentarily.

There’s the gentleman who posted his views on Facebook opposing Maryland’s new no-texting-while-driving law:

Not sure why I have to follow a law like this. I know how to text and drive at the same time and have not had any accidents as a result.

I feel so left out of the law making process in this state, so why should I follow laws that I didn't even have a hand in creating? Just sets up a funny social system...that's all. I guess people will follow the law because they are scared of the police and the legal system.


There’s a potential Darwin Award winner (as well as someone who apparently dozed during civics class).

Can you top these? Go ahead; try. Please, no nominations of people whose political views merely conflict with your own; I’ll delete those. It has to be something really, really stupid, and this great Republic surely boasts inexhaustible reserves of imbecility.