Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Crime of the Century (Mindful Dog-Walking Division)

   A British man was fined 66 pounds (roughly $100) recently for walking his dog by holding the leash through the open driver's window of his car, which he drove at about five miles per hour, according to a report today in the British newspaper the Sun
   A bicyclist spotted Paul Railton, of Annfield Plain (pop. roughly 4,000), County Durham, in northeast England, exercising his pet in this inventive way, and alerted police. They, according to the Sun, "raced to the scene to find Railton still crawling along with the dog running beside his Nissan Navara." 
   It is in no way easy to convey multiple facts in a single sentence, as news articles are meant to do, and journalistic deadlines are tight. The Sun, therefore, is to be forgiven for creating confusion between the locomotion speeds of man ("crawling") and dog ("running"). Also, automobiles don't crawl, but the British, who actually speak the English language (as opposed to Americans, who speak "English"), already know that; the Sun was simply having a bad day. 
   Railton, who is twenty-three, was docked three points on his license for not being in proper control of his vehicle. In addition to the nine points already docked for past offenses, this means Railton may not drive (or crawl along) for six months. 
   "A lot of people exercise their dog in that manner," Railton was quoted in the Sun as saying. "It's a joke. I'm not bothered. I knew I'd get three points. I might save myself some money not having a car." 
   Surrounded mostly by moors (the uncultivated hill land, not the Muslim peoples), Annfield Plain, once a strong mining area, is now composed of houses, some run-down shops and a smattering of pubs (see photo), according to an entry on Wikipedia, the least dependable entirely dependable Inter-nets source for information. 
   County Durham, however, apparently is lovely, chockablock as it is with ancient castles and cathedrals, the kinds of things that figure in the fantasies of children daydreaming about becoming brave knights and important princesses. At least they would figure in such fantasies if such fantasies were being fantasized, but often they are not; children are too busy playing video games and attending "play dates" to have time to use their imaginations. 
   Incidentally, Railton, the driving (crawling?) dog-walker, was one of five people who stood trial last July for the attempted murder of a man shot in the back with a shotgun. (The man lived, no doubt uncomfortably.) The case was dropped when it came to light that detectives had made an illegal search of a house. 
   Not to make snap judgments about people, but the bicyclist who ratted out Railton might want to watch his back. 

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