|Muskingum County sheriff deputies were forced to kill 48 wild animals including bears, lions and endangered Bengal tigers after their owner, Terry Thompson, 62, threw open their cages on Oct. 18 and then killed himself on his farm.|
|The discoveries of two new bodies near Akron could bring to three the death toll from a Craigslist ad that police say lured victims to Ohio and into a lethal robbery scheme.|
I had been hesistant in talking about this before, but dang, 3rd time is a charm, as they say. And that's just what has hit the national news recently, since October 18.
Now, I'm the first to agree that I might be picking on one state when there is crime happening in the other 49 as well, but these incidents in Ohio are no ordinary crimes. They are straight-up weird-ass, creepy, kinky acts of strange being committed smack dab in the heartland of middle America. How can that be ignored, or be called comparatively normal?
The first of these 3 incidents, the exotic animal escape, can be explained away by citing Ohio's laws allowing exotic animal ownership, the most lenient laws in the country. So, while it probably could only have happened in Ohio because of the laws, I didn't think it particularly odd at the time. I thought the Ohio laws were quite odd. Years ago, I had a friend down here who kept a lion in his yard in a rural area and was very upset when the county confiscated it. I tried in vain telling him that people just cannot keep dangerous animals as pets when they live anywhere around other folks. So I figured those Ohio folks were a lot like my friend.
Then, the Amish action went down, and I know they are a bit different as a population, but not that way. Heck, we have rebel Mormon sects down here, but even in West Texas when their compound was infiltrated, there was no violence. I began to wonder, is there some kind of weird-ass whoopass in Ohio's water?
Finally, when I heard about the Craigslist crimes, I just had to check into it. I emailed a few friends of mine who live there. One was completely defensive about it, so I knew I wouldn't be getting an objective input there. The other two enlightened me, as long as they are correct about many of their neighbors. One friend feels that Ohioans are caught in a type of rural evolution. She thinks that rural life there is being assaulted by today's fast pace and fast morals, whereas it has been able to avoid being affected in the past. Why? She had no idea, really. Lots of things. In short, a general and non-specific answer.
My third friend says she blames it on new people moving there and changing the demographic. This might have some meat on it as a viable answer, if I could research the perpetrators' bios to determine if they were lifelong Ohioans and new implants. So far, I haven't been able to locate the resources.
Out of frustration more than anything else, I emailed a fourth friend of mine from my campaign volunteer days, who has lived in about 20 different states since graduating from college 17 years ago. She'd just spent 2 years working in Columbus for a Congressman. She told me she lived in a nice suburb and really liked it at first. But she was quick to tell me that people there are different. She said there is a pride that borders on my way or the highway, and she never could really ever figure out why except for tradition, and that many folks just do not know any other way to be. (She thinks that Iowans are also that way. I suspect there are ALOT of states filled with people like that, but as I have not lived in 20 states, I will defer to her. I also know that 30% of the population is German and another 15% is Irish...two ethnicities who have been accused of being prideful and stubborn to a fault. Just sayin'...maybe.)
I'm even more confused than ever now. Perhaps it is just 3 random crazies randomly concentrated in one place. I have heard Ohio (and a few other places) described as The Land That Time Forgot. Apparently this does not apply to some of their more special people.