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The Darwin Awards
The Winners are those individuals who manage to remove themselves from the gene pool or render themselves incapable of reproduction through acts of shear stupidity thus proving that Darwin's laws of natural selection still apply to modern man. 
1996 Winners
[UPI, Toronto]

Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. 

A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. 

Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest'' members of the 200-man association. 

1996 Winners
[AP, St. Louis]

Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis market. When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it. 

Police found him unconscious in front of the store: paramedics removed the six-inch wiener from his throat, where it had choked him to death. 

The 1997 Darwin Award Winner!
Fort-Worth Star Telegram 1/2/96

Calcutta, India - A tiger killed one man and mauled another at the Calcutta zoo yesterday when they tried to put a marigold garland around its neck in a New Year's greeting. 

Prakesh Tiwari, the dead man, and Suresh Rai had been drinking before they bought the floral garlands and crossed the moat around the tiger's enclosure, authorities said.  "I was shocked to see the two young men weaving about in front of a tiger with garlands in their hands," said Rakesh Banerjee, who witnessed the attack that triggered panic and a near stampede in the zoo. The men, both in their 20's, were trying to put the garland on a 13-year old male Royal Bengal tiger named "Shiva" after the Hindu god of destruction. When Rai threw the garland around Shiva's neck, the tiger attacked him. His friend Tiwari intervened, kicking the tiger in the face. The tiger released Rai, and attacked and killed Tiwari. "I saw it all; the tiger turned and jumped on the other young man and put its head on the man's neck, and within moments, the man was apparently dead, his head dangling, " Banerjee said. 

Unknown originators observations: 

Alcohol and tigers don't mix.  Moats are placed around animal enclosures not only to keep dangerous animals in, but to keep stupid people out.  Shiva is an appropriate name for a Royal Bengal tiger.  Maybe Shiva was allergic to marigolds.  Moral of this story - kicking a tiger, especially one named after a god of destruction, in the face will get you killed. 

This is definitely a Darwin Award nominee. 

1997 Winners
Runner-up Number 1
On February 3, 1990, a Renton (Seattle area) man tried to commit a robbery. This was probably his first attempt, as suggested by his lack of a record of violent crime, and by his terminally stupid choice: 

1. The target was H&J Leather & Firearms, a gunshop; 

2. The shop was full of customers, in a state where a substantial fraction of the adult population is licensed to carry concealed handguns in public places; 

3. To enter the shop, he had to step around a marked King County Police patrol car parked at the front door; 

4.An officer in uniform was standing next to the counter, having coffee before reporting to duty. 

Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a holdup and fired a few wild shots.  The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, removing him from the gene pool.  Several other customers also drew their guns, but didn't fire. No one else was hurt. 

This happened February 4, 1990. 

The robber, David Zaback, 33, died in the hospital a few hours after the shooting. His family said he suffered from a mental disorder that caused him to be irrational at times. 

Runner-up Number 2
Binky 2, Humans 0

The story is as follows... 

Alaska -- Back in the summer of 1992 at the Anchorage Zoo, an Australian tourist decided she wanted to get a picture taken of her right next to the cage of the Polar Bear, Binky. This has made national news, even world news, when Binky struck out and grabbed her, mauling the tourist's leg and capturing her tennis shoes. But the incident that happened shortly after that did not get publicized as much. And qualifies for the Darwin Awards. 

Within a couple of weeks afterwards... 

As far as the two boys are concerned, they live in the Hilltop area of Anchorage (near the zoo) they reportedly decided to take a swim in Binkys pool. They squeezed through the 2 fences around Binkys cage, climbed over the bars, and stripped down, too inebriated to notice that the safety doors to Binkys lair (the ones they close to allow zoo personel safe access to Binkys cage) were open. Binky hears splashing, Binky wakes up, Binky takes chomp out of not-too-bright teen. In the process of being mauled the teenager's penis was detached. It was never found. Reconstructive surgery was required for urinary functions. 

And finally, there are NO sirens, lights, or increased security around Binkys cage. Sadly, Binky (and his roommate) died several months later of a bacterial infection. Although the Alaska Zoo is planning on aquiring more, they are investing in a large, fully enclosed environment that is supposedly Darwin award winner-proof. 

1997 Winners
Runner-up Number 1
Robber's Booty Explodes In His Pants When Beach Bank's Dye Bomb Explodes By Mike Mather Staff Writer

VIRGINIA BEACH - Police are searching for an embarrassed bank robber who was hurt Tuesday morning after a dye pack exploded in his pants and burned a hole through his fly. Witnesses last saw the man strip to his boxer shorts on Pacific Avenue and run away, leaving the money and his smoldering pants behind. The robbery happened around 11:30 a.m. at Life Savings Bank near 38th Street and Pacific Avenue. Police spokesman Mike Carey said this is what happened: 

The man gave a bank teller a plastic Food Lion grocery bag and demanded "all the money in the bank." The teller filled the bag with money and an explosive dye pack that burns at about 400 degrees when activated. The robber stuffed the bag down the front of his pants and ran from the bank. Carey said witnesses then saw "an explosion taking place inside his pants. He was seen hopping and jumping around." The hot dye pack seared through the crotch of the robber's jeans. Police confiscated the robber's pants but have not yet caught the robber. "He's probably sitting around with an ice pack in his lap," Carey said. "That is, if he hasn't sought medical attention" Police alerted area hospitals to be on the lookout for a man complaining of crotch burns. Investigators also asked the public's help in finding the robber. The suspect may be stained with bright red dye. 

"If he has the on his, uh, shall we say, 'person', it will be there for several days," Carey said. 

Runner-up Number 1

This is a true story according to a recent issue of Road and Track Magazine: When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motorhome parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for.  Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motorhome near spilled sewage. a police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motorhome`s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he's ever had. 

Skip King 
Vice President/Communications 
American Skiing Company 
PO Box 450 Bethel ME 04217