Darwin Awards

Darwin Awards

As we have been talking in class about the Stella Liebeck Awards, given to people who successfully sued a company because of stupid things, and were given lots of money, I find it interesting to tell you about this other competition.

Last week I read about these Darwin Awards which are, I think, a step forward into people’s stupidity. This is the aim of the Awards in their own words:

“The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it…”

The Darwin Awards started on the Internet. The aim of the project was to “honor” people who died because of their stupid behaviour, claiming, ironically, that they sacrificed themselves for the evolution of the human being.

Here you can find more information about these bizarre Awards.

Here you’ll find a short extract of seven of the most famous incidents. It’s very shocking, but as we all have a bit of black humour in ourselves, maybe you’ll enjoy the reading. I hope you’ll never enter the competition!

1989
In France, Jacques LeFevrier wanted to ensure his death when he attempted suicide. He went to the top of a cliff, tied a rope around his neck and the other end of the rope to a heavy rock. He drank poison and put fire on his clothes. He even tried to shoot at himself at the very last moment, when jumping from the cliff. The bullet didn’t touch him; instead it cut the rope over him. As he couldn’t hang on it, he fell into the sea. The sudden fall extinguished the flames and made him vomit the poison. A fisher found him and took him to hospital where he finally died….of hypothermia.

1992
Ken Barrer, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in Newton, North Carolina (USA) when, awakened by a sound beside the bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith&Wesson 38 Special which discharged when he drew it to his ear.

1993
A terrible diet and a non-ventilated room were the main causes of the death of a man who was killed by his own gas emissions. There was no sign on his body and the autopsy revealed a high amount of methane gas on his organism. His diet consisted basically of pulses and cauliflower (and some more food): a perfect mixture of food. Apparently, the man died while sleeping for breathing the poisonous cloud of gas floating over his bed. This wouldn’t have happened if he had been outside or if he had had the window opened. But he was hermetically locked in his room. He was a “very fat man with an enormous capacity for producing this dangerous gas”. Three of his rescuers got ill and one of them had to be hospitalised.

1995
Six people drowned when trying to rescue a hen that had fallen into a well, in the south of Egypt. An 18-year-old farmer was the first to go down the 20 metres of depth. He drowned and his two sisters and brother, none of them good swimmers, went down trying to save him, but also drowned. Two other farmers tried to help them, but also drowned. The six bodies were found by the police later. Besides, they took out the hen, who had survived.

1996
A polish farmer, Krystof Azninski, can be considered the most “macho” man in Europe after cutting his own head off. Aznisnki, 30, had been drinking with friends and they started to play “men games”. First, totally naked, they hit each other’s heads with icicles, but one of them cut off one of his toes with an electric saw. Not wanting to be less, Azninski, took the saw and cried “Look at this, then”. Then he cut off his head with it.
“It’s strange” said one friend “When he was a child, he liked dressing as a girl, but he died as a real man”

1997
Sylvester Bridell Jr, 26 years, was killed in February in Selbyville, Delaware (USA) when trying to win a bet he had made with his friends: that he wouldn’t dare to put a loaded gun in his mouth and shoot.

1999
A lawyer and two friends were fishing in the Caddo Lake in Texas when an electric storm started. All the other boats came back to the coast, but not theirs. He stood on the back of the aluminium boat, arms up in a cross, and cried “Here I am, God. Shoot me!” (I suppose he was joking). And God apparently, obliged. The other two passengers survived the lightening with minor burns.

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