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Old 04-10-2002, 05:11 PM   #1
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How's this for irony?

I got this in an email today.

At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, AAFS President Dr Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story.

On March 23, 1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide. He left a note to the effect indicating his despondency. As he fell past the 9th floor his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window, which killed him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below the 8th floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.
"Ordinarily," Dr Mills continued, "A person who sets out to commit suicide and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide."
That Mr. Opus was shot on the way to certain death, but probably would not have been
successful because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to feel that he had a homicide on his hands.
In the room on the 9th floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun. The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window striking Mr. Opus. When one intends to kill subject "A" but kills subject "B" in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject "B." When confronted with the murder charge the old man and his wife were both adamant and both said that they thought the shotgun was unloaded. The old man said it was a long-standing habit to
threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, if the gun had been accidentally loaded.
The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about 6 weeks prior to the fatal accident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother. Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder even though he didn't actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.
Now comes the exquisite twist.
Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the 10 story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the 9th story window. The son had actually murdered himself so the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

Associated Press,
Reported by Kurt Westervelt
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Old 04-10-2002, 05:15 PM   #2
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That reminds me of the opening scene to the movie Magnolia.
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Old 04-10-2002, 06:18 PM   #3
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i feel a darwin award nomination coming on.
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Old 04-10-2002, 09:21 PM   #4
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me too.
http://www.darwinawards.com/

Humans. They're funny.
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Old 04-10-2002, 10:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
That reminds me of the opening scene to the movie Magnolia.
yeah. i watched magnolia like a week ago and that sounds exactly like magnolia.
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Old 04-10-2002, 11:47 PM   #6
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Magnolia..

I knew that deja vu was coming from somewhere!
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Old 04-11-2002, 02:48 AM   #7
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Really. I read this before Magnolia came out and thought the film ripped off this forward.

foray
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Old 04-11-2002, 09:36 AM   #8
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Don Mills made up this far-fetched tale in 1987. It showed up in the 16 January 1998 episode of the TV series Homicide and is also said to have been mentioned in an episode of the TV show Law & Order, but in the latter case District Attorney Ben Stone merely offered a hypothetical example of a man who jumped off the Empire State Building because he wanted a ham sandwich and was shot on the way down by someone who thought he was committing suicide. A 1998 episode of the Australian TV show Murder Call also featured this legend, and, as mentioned above, it pops up early in Magnolia.

-snopes
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Old 04-11-2002, 09:19 PM   #9
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Lilly,

I’m almost positive that is verbatim from “Magnolia”
There are three ironic vignettes to open the film.
Great movie by writer/director P T Anderson. IMO Tom Cruise’s best performance.

Here is a link to quotes from the movie--- for flavor.

http://us.imdb.com/Quotes?0175880


------------------
“Economy is the basis of society. When the economy is stable, society develops. The ideal economy combines the spiritual and the material, and the best commodities to trade in are sincerity and love.” Morihei Ueshiba

[This message has been edited by chain (edited 04-11-2002).]
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Old 04-17-2002, 11:54 PM   #10
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Nice, but it's not the medical examiner's job to determine motives/actions, but just to determine the cause of death.

Sounds funny though.

Doesn't take much to check your facts



[This message has been edited by RufusYoungblood (edited 04-17-2002).]
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Old 04-18-2002, 04:03 AM   #11
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OH so cool, you guys reminded me of one of my favorite films and now I am gonan pop in the DVD to one of my favorite scenes, Julianne Moore in the pharmacy. Oh my God, I so have lived that scene through my friends in real life.
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Old 04-18-2002, 11:28 AM   #12
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My Stats Prof told a scary story today in where women who got the "blue mark" on home pregnancy tests were not pregnant, but diagnosed with cancer. The home pregnancy test was able to test positive for cancer, but had a 1 in a million chance that it would error in diagnosis. I guess this happened to a Canadian woman, who recently sued for 17 million or some aomunt cause she had already started the chemo and was misdiagnosed. Ten cases have been reported. That would terrible news to hear though: "You're not pregnant, and unfortunately you have cancer."
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Old 04-18-2002, 12:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by wannabe:
My Stats Prof told a scary story today in where women who got the "blue mark" on home pregnancy tests were not pregnant, but diagnosed with cancer. The home pregnancy test was able to test positive for cancer, but had a 1 in a million chance that it would error in diagnosis. I guess this happened to a Canadian woman, who recently sued for 17 million or some aomunt cause she had already started the chemo and was misdiagnosed. Ten cases have been reported. That would terrible news to hear though: "You're not pregnant, and unfortunately you have cancer."
This happened to my sister-in-law, sort of. But the details are a little different, so maybe your prof's details got a bit mixed up, as happens when stories are passed on, or maybe they are completely different things.
Anyway, my brother's wife went to the doctor for a pregnancy test and it came back positive but at her next appt. (I think) there was no baby there. So she was told: either you had a miscarriage or you have cancer. There's some hormone in a woman's blood that goes way up when she's pregnant, but also when she has a certain type of cancer. My sis-in-law had to go through a couple months of not knowing if she had cancer or not, while they tested for this hormone to see if levels would eventually drop. Finally they did, and she was torn knowing that she didn't have cancer, but that they did lose a baby.
Anyway, this woman in the lawsuit (assuming the one I've heard about is the same one your prof told you about) actually had it much worse off than your prof's story. Not only did she already start chemo, but she had a full hysterectomy, so she can never have a baby. But the docs were totally wrong, she never had cancer, so it was all for nothing.

By the way, it's a blood test, not a home urine test, so don't be scared if you get the "blue mark!"
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Old 04-18-2002, 12:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by chain:
Great movie by writer/director P T Anderson. IMO Tom Cruise’s best performance.

Maybe too long, a bit disjointed and too much screaming, but small complaints in light of its overall brilliance.
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Old 04-18-2002, 04:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spiral_Staircase:
This happened to my sister-in-law, sort of. But the details are a little different, so maybe your prof's details got a bit mixed up, as happens when stories are passed on, or maybe they are completely different things.
Thanks Spiral, that's a sad story. From what you told me, sounds like my prof was was off. Thanks for that added info. Having a hysterectomy and learning the alter would really suck. I don't blame her for asking for that money!
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