Cooper’s plan went like this: He would set up a fake marijuana grow house and get the Odessa police to raid it illegally. Inside he’d put a single grow light over a couple of tiny Christmas trees—Cooper’s idea of a punch line. He’d invite local reporters along to catch the police looking like fools when they busted in. Madden spent more than $30,000 setting this all up. Cooper rented a house, wired it with four cameras, bought laptops to watch the video streaming live, hired a crew and a lawyer and put them all up in hotels while they set the trap. To bait the police, Cooper’s crew arranged for an anonymous letter to be sent to a local church, where they knew it would be promptly given to the police. The letter promised a house full of pot plants and $19,000 in drug money that would be gone by the next day. An anonymous tip alone is not enough for a search warrant; the police have to have hard evidence that something illegal is going on. Cooper was hoping they’d search the house illegally while he filmed everything. —“Gone Rogue,” Michael May, Texas Observer
Guernica: What was the most frightening experience you had while reporting Routes?
Ted Conover: There was an incident in Peru, when I was trying to take a picture of a Blue Morpho butterfly in the Andes. Taking photographs of nature is considered by certain politicized people as a bourgeois affectation and the Shining Path would, reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution in China, want to stamp out that activity. So this guy in Peru says, “If you’d been here a few years ago you’d be hanging in that tree right now.” I didn’t really think I was about to be hanging in that tree. But I got the feeling he might have liked to make that happen. —“A War You Can Commute To,” Wes Enzinna, Guernica
The spiritual discipline that has colonized America’s gyms and trendy loft spaces was once a fringe practice, its advocates treated as charlatans and, occasionally, criminals. Yoga’s cultural rise is a story of scandal, financial shenanigans, bodily discipline, oversize egos and bizarre love triangles, with a few performing elephants thrown in for good measure. Mr. Love tells [this] story through the life of one of yoga’s earliest promoters, Pierre Bernard—known as the “Great Oom”—a zany man whose talent for self-invention rivaled that of P.T. Barnum. Born Perry Baker in Leon, Iowa, in 1876, Bernard’s early and serendipitous meeting with an Indian tutor in 1889 put him on the path to promoting yoga as his life’s work. —“Life in an Awkward Position,” Christine Rosen, The Wall Street Journal