RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES: Man arrested for beating chicken! How it might have gone down.

With all the hubbub about the debt ceiling, a potential U.S. credit downgrade, possible Greek / Irish / Portuguese / Italian / Spanish default, various wars and conflicts, record heat, etc. etc., a major story slipped right by the major media last week. But thanks to the Chesterfield Observer (for whom I write and whom I appreciate and thank repeatedly), this story did not go completely unreported. In the July 27, 2011 Crime Watch column, the following alleged criminal activity was reported:

“John D. Robinson V, 23, of Clintwood Road, Midlothian, was charged with animal cruelty late last month after he allegedly beat a chicken. He also was charged with assaulting a law-enforcement officer, resisting arrest and profane swearing/intoxication.”

Some of you might be disturbed that, in the article, the chicken assault rated higher in the piece than the assault on the police officer. Allow me to educate: there is an old adage in the news business about what qualifies as news and what doesn’t. “Dog bites man” is not news – happens too often. “Man bites dog” – now THAT’S news. It’s unique, interesting, even exciting.

On that scale, “Man beats chicken” definitely beats “Man assaults officer” – there’s no contest.

Further down the article notes that Mr. Robinson was charged with intoxication. I believe, given the information already presented in the article, that if the Observer had been running short of space, it could have left off the note about the intoxication charge, as that could have been assumed.

As much as I ADORE the Observer, however, I must say that there are a number of questions that were not addressed in this story, such as: Is “beat a chicken” a euphemism? If not, did the man (allegedly) assault the officer WITH the chicken? Was the chicken (allegedly) an accomplice or a bystander? What sparked the alleged man-chicken altercation – was it a neighborhood squabble? A professional disagreement? A feed fight? A love triangle? I seriously doubt that (alleged) last one, but the article doesn’t address it.

The article says that the man (allegedly) resisted arrest. Was there a tense stand-off? How did that go?

(The following is a speculative scenario, not connected to this alleged case. Any resemblance to persons or poultry living or dead is entirely coincidental.)

Po-Po: "Sir, drop the chicken!"

Fictional Man: "Yuuuur gonna haf ta' pull this chicken fr'm mah col', dead hand!"

Po-Po: "Sir, you don't want to do this! Do you know what they do to chicken beaters in the pen?"

Fictional Man: "Ah don' care! This is MAH chickin'. Isss mah consitushunal RIGHT."

Po-Po: “I’m only going to say this one more time sir! DROP the chicken!!”

Fictional Man: “Thish shicken LUFS me! Mind yer bishness!”

Officer attempts to Tase® suspect, misses, roasts chicken instead. Police report later states: “We had to kill the chicken to save the chicken.”

So, I say to my beloved part-time employer, the Chesterfield Observer: what’s the scoop? Observing minds want to know!!.