[Weekly Review] | December 2, 2014, by Sharon J. Riley | Harper's Magazine

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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


A grand jury in St. Louis decides not to indict Darren Wilson, German scientists grow spinal cords in petri dishes, and London police stab a Staffordshire terrier to death.

WeeklyReview-Birds-SJRA grand jury in St. Louis, Missouri, decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the city of Ferguson in August. “I felt,” Wilson told the jury of his encounter with Brown, “like a five-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan.”[1][2] Following the decision, crowds in Ferguson looted businesses, set cars on fire, and damaged a bakery, a beauty-supply store, and a restaurant. “Burn this bitch down,” said Brown’s stepfather.[3][4][5][6] Protestors chained themselves to commuter trains in Oakland and formed a human chain blocking I-83 in Baltimore. Police used tear gas to control crowds, and a pregnant Ferguson woman lost her left eye after police fired a beanbag at her boyfriend’s car. “I know,” Wilson told an interviewer, “that I did my job right.”[7][8][9][10][11][12] Cleveland police released a video of an officer fatally shooting a black 12-year-old boy on a playground after a bystander called 911 when she noticed the boy playing with an airsoft pellet gun. “It’s probably fake,” the caller had told police.[13][14] A gunman fired at a federal courthouse, a police station, and other buildings in downtown Austin, Texas, and attempted to set fire to the Mexican consulate with camping fuel, before being shot by a police officer holding the reins of two horses. Austin’s police chief speculated that the man was angry about President Obama’s immigration reforms. “I would venture,” he said, “that the political rhetoric might have fed into some of this.”[15]

Former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio host Jian Ghomeshi announced he would plead “not guilty” and surrendered to Toronto police after he was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Forty-seven-year-old Ghomeshi was released on C$100,000 bail on the condition that he must now live with his mother.[16][17][18] A teenage girl in India died of her injuries one week after six men set her on fire for resisting their attempt to molest her, the San Diego State University* Greek community suspended all social events at fraternities after it was reported that members waved dildos and threw eggs at students participating in an anti-rape march, and a Colorado man was arrested for waving a banana at police. “I observed Nathen reach into the left side of his coat,” said the arresting officer, “and pull out a yellow object.”[19][20][21] U.S. retailers opened on “Gray Thursday,” beginning Black Friday deals a day earlier. “The consumer,” said Target’s chief executive, “clearly enjoys shopping on Thanksgiving.” A survey by the National Retail Federation estimated that holiday sales declined by 11 percent compared with 2013. “I’m hungry. My legs hurt. We’re waiting for supper,” said one shopper waiting outside a Walmart for a $218 50-inch LED TV.[22][23][24][25][26] Cannabis stores in Colorado offered marijuana-infused pumpkin pies and 80 percent off merchandise for “Green Friday.” “We’ve become yet another stop for shoppers,” said the founder of the marijuana vendor Grass Station, “looking for holiday deals and thoughtful, unusual gifts.”[27][28][29]

Doctors in Vancouver, Canada, began offering prescription heroin to addicts, and police in Ontario arrested a man accused of repeatedly stealing shoes and socks and licking women’s feet at tanning salons.[30][31] Eight shoes of Holocaust victims were stolen from a museum in Poland.[32] The Chinese government’s State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television banned wordplay, citing “cultural and linguistic chaos,” and Malaysia Airlines, which lost two flights in the past year, including flight 370, which is believed to be somewhere in the Indian Ocean, apologized for tweeting, “Want to go somewhere, but don’t know where?”[33][34] Gray seals were suspected of mutilating porpoises in the North Sea, and a tiger released by Vladimir Putin was accused of killing Chinese goats.[35][36] German scientists grew spinal cords in petri dishes.[37] Finland legalized gay marriage, and federal judges overturned gay marriage bans in Arkansas and Mississippi.[38][39][40] In Pennsylvania, seven people were injured when a Subaru Outback struck their horse-drawn buggy, and a horse drawing a buggy was killed in a drive-by shooting.[41][42] A four-year-old Staffordshire terrier named Missy was stabbed to death by London police during a drug raid in which no drugs were found and no arrests were made. “It was deemed necessary,” said a Scotland Yard spokesperson, “to use force.”[43][44]

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*Correction: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated that the University of San Diego suspended fraternity events. It was San Diego State University.

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