Weekly Daily Brickbats Archive 2009 January 8-31

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Eat This

Martin Ryan starved to death over 26 days in a National Health Service hospital in England. Ryan was admitted after suffering a stroke. The stroke left him unable to swallow, and doctors ordered a feeding tube for him, but for some reason staff never put one in. No one seemed to notice he wasn't being fed until it was too late.

Barbed Comments

Burglaries rose in Newark, New Jersey, in 2008, and some residents are blaming the city's crackdown on barbed wire and razor wire. John DeSantis, for instance, says his auto repair business suffered a dozen burglaries in just a few months after he was forced to remove the razor wire around the property. City officials say people could be injured if they attempt to climb over the wire. Property owners say that's the point.

Ashes to Ashes

The first letter arrived at Julie Strange's house about a year after he son Paul died. From England's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and addressed to Paul, it claimed he had not sent in required information on a vehicle he owned. She called the agency and explained her son was dead and had not owned any vehicle. But the letters kept coming, scores of them. She even sent a copy of his death certificate, but nothing changed. Finally, Paul received a court summons. Julie Strange went, and when her son's name was called she held out a small casket with his ashes. The prosecutor asked that the charges be withdrawn.

You Are Going to Hurt Someone

In Worcester, England, Bill Malcolm put barbed wire up around his tool shed and vegetable plots after thieves struck three times in four months. Shortly after that, local officials told him to remove the fence because burglars might get hurt climbing over it. They said they will remove the fence if he doesn't.

Texas Two Step

Lone Star College threatened to place the Young Conservatives of Texas on probation after the group distributed a flier with a joking "Top Ten Gun Safety Tips" list. A student activities coordinator confiscated the fliers as the group tried to hand them out. College general counsel Brian S. Nelson contends that "any mention of firearms" interferes with the operation of the school.