Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "MS-13: Criminals next door," June 18, 2005

Gun nut

Police in Ridgefield, N.J., discovered grandma and grandpa were packing heat. Returning to the home of 82-year-olds Elizabeth and Sherwin Raymond after escorting a disoriented Elizabeth home, cops found a weapons cache that would have rivaled an Iraqi safe house. Police removed nearly 500 guns, including AK-47s, 500 pounds of gunpowder, and 100,000 rounds of ammunition from the Raymonds' home. Mr. Raymond claims he is a gun collector. But there's a problem: The man is a convicted felon. Mr. Raymond went to prison in the early 1970s for performing illegal abortions. He returned to prison after being caught dealing submachine guns. This time, Mr. Raymond has been charged with creating a hazardous condition.

Mountain marriage

Imagine the trouble bride Moni Mulepati, 24, and groom Pem Dorjee, 23, had in finding someone to officiate at their wedding. The Nepalese couple chose a fairly remote place to wed: atop Mt. Everest. Mr. Dorjee, a Sherpa and experienced climber, led the wedding party of 45 to Everest's summit and exchanged vows with his bride at 29,035 feet. The ceremony began as the bride and groom replaced their oxygen masks with plastic garlands. The celebration didn't last long, however, as the group began its descent just 10 minutes later. Since Edmund Hillary's historic climb in 1953, nearly 13 percent of all Everest climbers have died in the process.

Car talk

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Mohammad al-Zulfa, a legislator in Saudi Arabia, created a firestorm in May when he asked his fellow legislators to lift a ban on women driving automobiles in Saudi Arabia. Mr. al-Zulfa says the prohibition on female driving cannot be found in the Quran or in the law, but rather comes from fatwas, or edicts, from powerful Saudi clerics. Angered by Mr. al-Zulfa's suggestion, some officials have proposed stripping the legislator of his Saudi citizenship. Mr. al-Zulfa says he's received a text message from an angry opponent wishing his blood to be frozen by Allah. "Driving by women leads to evil," Munir al-Shahrani wrote in a letter to a Saudi newspaper. "Can you imagine what it would be like if her car broke down? She would have to seek help from men."

Sprint thru the Bible

Forget the One Year Bible; the one-day Bible promises to be the time-crunched reader's perfect exegetical tool. Publishing firm Broadman & Holman plans to release what it calls the "Light Speed Study Bible." For just $30, the company promises customers can "read every word of the entire Bible in 24 hours or lessó-with good comprehension." Theologians and others who have devoted large portions of their lives to understanding portions of Paul's writings will likely remain skeptical. It may come down to what the definition of "good comprehension" is.

Sign of protest

One New Jersey businessman is so tired of what he calls the "anti-business" attitude of the Garden State that he's decided to give visitors a heads-up. William Juliano, a developer from Mount Laurel, N.J., has put up a billboard giving drivers an unusual greeting: "Welcome to New Jersey. A horrible place to do business." Mr. Juliano says the state's environmental agency is too aggressive in labeling some land as protected wetlands. Fired back a state official: "I think that he came to the mistaken belief that he had a personal and perpetual exemption from the wetlands laws."

Fire starter

Glen Germain Jr. may not be the brightest criminal, but he could be the noisiest or most singed. While siphoning gasoline from a truck in upstate New York, Mr. Germain wanted to check his progress, so the crook whipped out his lighter for illumination. The resulting fire blew Mr. Germain's cover and burned his face and hands. He was quickly arrested.


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