The Miami Herald reported a story so crazy it could only have happened in Florida. A man, Claudy Charles, stands accused of intentionally setting his own car on fire in South Miami-Dade. If convicted, he faces second-degree arson charges… So, it’s up to a ragtag group of his peers and a hot-shot attorney named Stephen Gutierrez, whose specialized knowledge of exothermic science might be his only chance in this classic case of courtroom drama.
To help his client beat an arson case, a lawyer tried the old ‘spontaneous combustion’ argument…
As the 28-year old defense attorney presented his case before jurors, he claimed that the defendant didn’t intentionally set fire to his own car — but rather, it “spontaneously combusted.” Who hasn’t seen that age-old story played out a hundred times? Classic boy loves car, boy (allegedly) sets fire to car scenario.
When, out of nowhere, he, himself, spontaneously combusted…
During his closing arguments, he suddenly “… rushed out of the Miami courtroom…” Apparently, he’d been “fiddling” in his pocket when, unexpectedly, smoke began pouring from his pants “…leaving spectators stunned” as his right pocket burst into flames — possibly set ablaze by the burning irony of justice — causing him to flee like the man on fire. Been there, brother…
Later, with a visibly singed pocket and an explanation involving the faulty battery of an e-cigarette, our hero returned to find the jury missing from the courtroom. Reportedly, they’d been ushered out during his in-seam inferno and now he’d be robbed of his slow burning “ta-da” moment.
And In the end, he lost the case — so in the eyes of our justice system, the 48-year old defendant lit his own car on fire. Obviously.
His client was convicted of second-degree arson. Like the fella says, “it’s better to burn out than fade away” anyway… Oh, and as far as arsons go, second-degree is at least the second worst kind of arson there is, IMO.
Get ready New Jersey! Your workplaces just got a whole lot more inclusive and curly.
Natural hair discrimination or discrimination based on hair texture has been one of the greatest forms of social injustice against Black people for much too long. Found worldwide, hair discrimination targets Black people with afro-texture hair. The issue strikes at afro-textured hair early in school and unfortunately follows us into the professional world where Black curls have often been deemed unprofessional, ugly, and unclean.
New Jersey is throwing out hair discrimination with the trash this month.
The state is the latest in the United States to join the ranks of other states working to banning natural hair discrimination. The new bill makes the state of New Jersey the third in our country to enforce a law that requires workplaces to allow hair of all types in the workplace. In the past two years both California and New York have instituted the changes.
The measure, legally known as S3945, alters the state’s Law Against Discrimination, which protects people from discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race or other categories. In its changes, the measure works to prevent discrimination of people on the basis of “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.” You can bet your bottom dollar this protection includes like twists or braids which means say hello to more locs at your local Starbucks, chicas!
New Jersey is a state that has dealt with issues related to Black hair discrimination frequently.
Last December in 2018, Black high school wrestler Andrew Johnson in New Jersey was forced to cut his locks by a referee just before a match. The news made national headlines and prompted outcries of discrimination throughout social media. This month, the state legislature introduced a bill that would similarly update New Jersey’s discrimination law to include protection for “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.”
Democratic State Assemblywoman Angela McKnight said she felt compelled to push for the change when she saw the humiliation and discrimination that Johnson endured during a meet.
Speaking to NJ.com, McKnight said she cried when she first saw the images of Johnson’s hair being cut off. “He had to choose between, do I move forward with something that I love to do versus with my hair that I love. He had to choose which one. That should not have been a choice,” she said. “This is a movement to protect Black citizens from systematic discrimination because of a hairstyle. We’re more than that. This is a civil rights issue.”
Black men and women are too often forced to change their looks and behaviors to account of the Eurocentric standards that we have enforced to forcefully in our country. As more Black people embrace their natural hair and beauty, it’s important to allow space for this. Particularly in education- associated institutions related to after school activities. Mostly because doing otherwise will only prompt more kids to try to conform to impossible to achieve standards.
To keep up with the movement Check out these curly chicas and their spot-on tips!
“Find a natural hair salon.” – Vilma Peguero
When you need your wisdom teeth removed, you don’t go to a philosopher, do you? Same logic applies to hair. Black Latina Negra Bella co-founder Dania Peguero would had never begun her natural hair care journey if it hadn’t been for the salon experts who taught her how!
“Give your hair some loving.” – Alba Ramos
Having beautiful, healthy, shiny-looking curls takes time and love. But it is totally worth it. Sun Kiss Alba was the first person to share with me the basics of curly hair care, and I’m pretty sure you’ll love her videos, too! She covers everything from maintenance and cleansing to cute hairstyles, just for curly hair.
“YOU ARE NOT ALONE.” – Carolina Contreras
Miss Rizos isn’t just a beauty blogger, she’s an activist who works day and night to educate women from all over the globe on how to care for their pajones (she heads up a natural hair salon in Santo Domingo), as well as how to embrace who they are, culturally and racially, with absolute pride. Not always an easy task, but definitely a rewarding one.
We curly chicas can sometimes feel like our hair just isn’t growing fast enough, which makes us super afraid of cutting it. The thing is, the only way to keeping curls healthy, in shape–and YES, longer–is by trimming it every every eight weeks or so.
“Mix and match.” – Ada Rojas
Lose your fear of natural products; your hair will forever be grateful! Also, because each chica’s curls are created differently, it’s best to experiment with different hair product cocktails until you find the ones that work the best for you.
Mexico’s everyday life, particularly in rural areas, is full of surprises and events that the average gringo would find too strange to be true. Such was the case of a recent robbery in the state of Veracruz. Three men were caught stealing 15 cows, which is a very significant asset and someone’s actual livelihood if you subsist by raising crops and producing farming goods such as milk. So they of course had to be punished in some way, and because people in some areas of Mexico (and we would dare to say in the country at large) mistrust the authorities, some citizens take matters in their own hands.
This is a symptom of a decades-long mistrust in the authorities or the real repercussions that criminals will face given the high levels of corruption at all levels of government that the new administration wished to eradicate (just how they pretend to do it remains largely unclear!).
So first things first: yes, this was their punishment for stealing the cows, holding hands while totally naked
The punishment by public nudity took place in Suchilapan del Río, in the municipality of Jesús Carranza in Veracruz. The three men were caught right con las manos en la masa. The man who recorded the video, which has made its rounds on Mexican social media, made the robbers confess to their crime while naked and holding hands in the middle of the street. According to La Verdad Noticias, one of these men is a butcher, which makes perfect sense given that he was attempting to steal cattle. They are standing on Independencia street, right in front of the meat producers association.
The news was broken by the Twitter news dissemination site @QuePocaMadre_MX which translates into something like “You gotta be kidding me, that’s rough, man!”
The case has not been completely solved and whether the authorities have done anything on this matter is unclear. The case has garnered some attention in local media, so we might hear more about this. It is important to note, however, that while highly unlikely the video might actually be staged (we gotta at least entertain that possibility until we know otherwise!).
The story might seem funny or chusca at first, but if you dig a bit under the surface there is a far darker undertone.
For one, the video evidences an almost total gap of authority in this municipality. The fact that these guys (criminals, if we are being honest) were forced to display public nudity to atone for their actions is almost laughable, but it also shows that law enforcement in the are has been decimated to reach a level of ridicule that can make headlines. Let’s not forget that Veracruz is one of the most violent states in the country, and since Los Zetas emerged in the 2000s and challenged the Cartel del Golfo, it has also become an epicenter of the cartel wars. This lack of government action lends itself to semi-funny situations but should not be taken lightly.
The people made them hold hands, which is a clear sign of homophobic mob mentality.
The fact that the men were forced to hold hands and do a display of pretend homoeroticism is also an indicative of the prevailing homophobic views shared by some Mexicans. In everyday Mexican lingo, words that denote a queer identity are used as token insults and one of the cruelest ways to harm diverse genres and sexualities is making them an insult. We also have to consider that Veracruz has a very dark history when it comes to hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. Crimes against trans individuals, for example, are common and most of the times end up in impunity. Even though same-sex marriage is legal, measures such a conversion therapy are legal as well.
And there is a thin thin line that separates forcing three men to get naked and an actual lynching, which has been a sad and brutal feature in contemporary Mexico.
Perhaps this story might seem amusing at first, but it also recalls some recent incidents in Mexico in which criminals are caught by the population instead of the authorities and then things escalate and lynching happens. People have been bashed to death, set on fire and dismembered in public. In some instances the lynched are guilty of crimes, often of sexual nature, but it has been the case that a disgruntled neighbor starts a rumor that has fatal consequences. Because there is such a climate of uneasiness and impunity in the country, people have even ambushed police cars carrying suspects. We are of course not saying that justice should not be served, but when it is an eye for an eye everyone ends up blind.
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