by Pauli Poisuo
Being a rogue is about knowing how the hustle works, but not using that knowledge to be a scumbag. It’s a Chaotic Good alignment, if you will. This means that rogues are not at odds with the law by default: They can and absolutely do exist within the justice system, where they use their mastery of the game to teach wrongdoers a lesson in ways that the system rarely thinks to employ.
As is the case with most aspects of being a rogue, this can be a fine and difficult line to walk. Sometimes, attempts at situation-appropriate punishments come across like raging douche moves, like that one time when a multiple time offender with a bunch of kids was forced to have a vasectomy as a part of his plea deal. But when they go right, they work on a cosmic level. For instance ...
Undisciplined Thai Cops Are Forced To Wear Hello Kitty Armbands
In 2007, the police chiefs in Bangkok were facing a disciplinary problem. They were thoroughly fed up with their officers’ habit of coming in late, parking wherever they felt like and committing other minor transgressions that weren’t quite serious enough for the old “turn in your gun and badge” treatment. But how would they go about fixing the problem? It’s not like they can just start suspending every officer who they catch screwing around. They’re still needed to uphold the law.
So the chiefs came up with the perfect solution: They announced that undisciplined cops would get punished by being forced to wear bright pink, Hello Kitty armbands. Yes, seriously. No, that wasn’t a joke. Behold:
The look of pure, unadulterated fandom.
You can see his will to live seeping right out of his ear holes.
The more you think about this move, the more genius it becomes. It’s damn hard to embarrass a police officer. They project an immense veneer of authority. But slap a ridiculous Hello Kitty band on an officer's bicep, and every ounce of credibility disappears in a puff of lukewarm methane. No one can take a guy wearing something like that seriously, especially when every single other thing about his uniform is supposed to scream “authority figure”.
As a brilliant final touch, the officers were specifically instructed not to discuss the reason why they had to wear it in the first place, leaving it to anyone’s guess what it would take to be punished like that. Did they punch an officer? Were they two minutes late? Did they accidentally park in the handicap spot? Were they just hardcore Hello Kitty fans, exploiting the system? There was literally no way to tell, so you had no option but to behave, lest you be slapped with an armband of your own.
"Could've been worse. My Little Pony is still a thing."
Sadly, the English-speaking internet has scarce information on what actually became of this new disciplinary method. However, seeing as Google image search yields comparatively few images of the public laughing their butts off at Officer Hello Kitty, our best guess is that the sheer terror of potentially having to wear these things was enough to put their ranks in line, and the Bangkok police force is currently the best-behaved one on the planet.
Actually, can we introduce this system to every police force?
A Woman Who Abandoned Kittens In The Woods Is Returned The Favor
Look, there’s no way to say this that isn’t depressing, so we’re just going to blurt it out: in 2005, an Ohio woman named Michelle M. Murray abandoned 35 kittens in the woods, just like that. This is not an optimal situation for even an adult house cat, which is a furry ball of barely contained murder and contempt. It’s a completely new level of suck for kittens, whose main survival method is looking adorable:
2 seconds later, that field was a bloodbath.
Fortunately for the kittens, the park rangers found them before it was too late, and it turned out they were all wearing identification collars that allowed the authorities to trace them back to Murray. Even so, the elements had not been kind: Many of them were suffering from respiratory problems, and 9 did not survive.
The ID collars wasn’t the only strange thing about the case: First of all, 35 kittens is a lot. We’re not talking about just one accidental litter, which is generally 3-5 kittens and very rarely more than ten. Second, Murray had abandoned them in not just one, but two parks, meaning that she really, really took her time getting rid of them. Oh, and Murray was a former animal rescuer. Apparently, even people in noble professions sometimes break bad, too.
Murray told the authorities that someone just mysteriously left the kittens on her doorstep, and the local Humane Society refused to help -- a claim that the Humane Society reacted to with a creeped-out look and a, “Yeah, that didn’t happen at all.” The judge was having none of her excuses, however. Instead, he tore into Murray with a dramatic speech, ripped straight out of a TV show:
"How would you like to be dumped off at a metro park late at night, spend the night listening to the coyotes ... listening to the raccoons around you in the dark night, and sit out there in the cold not knowing where you're going to get your next meal, not knowing when you are going to be rescued?"
Then, he gave her a choice. Either get the usual punishment for domestic animal abandonment/rampant douchebaggery (90 days in prison), or something a little more situation-appropriate: 14 days in jail, 15 days on house arrest, substantial donations to the Humane Society and the park rangers who rescued the kittens ... and one night alone in the woods, just like the kittens she had abandoned.
"... but what I do have are a very particular set of skills."
To add insult to injury, the punishment took place on the night before Thanksgiving, and she was only allowed the clothes on her back, some water, and an emergency communication device that the park rangers could conveniently pretend to not hear in case there was a bear or something. Maybe a fire if it got really cold. No light, no food, no entertainment. Just her and the deep, dark woods ... and presumably, the faint, ghostly meows of the kittens she murdered. Always coming from directly behind her no matter how fast she turned, and slowly inching closer.
A Poetic Punishment For Teenagers Who Cut A 3-Year-Old’s Hair
Generally speaking, a straightforward Hammurabi’s Code -style “eye for an eye” punishment is not particularly encouraged within the legal system. Even death row murderers spend years in jail before a carefully designed method of execution ... instead of being casually stabbed with the same knife they used in their crimes as soon as the judge bangs his gavel. Still, occasionally, a judge sees their chance to go full Hammurabi on a perpetrator, and freaking pounces.
Such was the case in 2012, when Carbon County Juvenile judge, Scott Johansen, presided over a peculiar case where two girls had bullied a 3-year old at a local McDonalds. The 13- and 11-year-olds had first acted friendly, but eventually decided that they’d cut off the kid’s hair. When they didn’t have scissors on them, they asked the restaurant staff to borrow theirs. When they unsurprisingly told the girls “Hell no,” they actually walked to a nearby dollar store to buy a pair. Yeah, they were really determined to ruin that kid’s style.
The steeled gaze of impending Karma.
Fast forward a few weeks to the older girl’s court date. Judge Johansen was presiding over the case, as well as another one where the same girl had tormented another teen with phone calls that involved threats of rape and mutilation for eight freaking months. Johansen was done with this kid’s idiocy. He promptly declared her behavior “egregious” and slapped the 13-year-old with 30 days of detention, restitution payments to the victims and a whopping 276 hours of community service with the youth work crew. And he didn't stop there.
The judge realized that forcing a kid with a history like that to hang with a bunch of other delinquents would probably not be conductive with the whole “growing to be an upstanding citizen” thing, so he offered her mother a choice: He would cut the community service by 150 hours. All the mother had to do was grab a pair of scissors and cut the girl’s hair.
Right there and then, in the court. While the mother of the 3-year-old looked on and gave instructions on precisely how much should be cut.
"Don't stop until you see exposed brain."
One extremely awkward haircut later, a juvenile delinquent that was practically destined to hang in the wrong circles got a new lease in life -- an important life lesson, and very likely a lifelong hatred of pixie cuts. Her 11-year-old accomplice got a possibly even stranger variation of the same treatment: Though Johansen did allow her to go to a salon to get her hair cut, he ordered it to be cut as short as he wore his own hair. For reference, this is Judge Johansen:
"Include the receding hairline, too."
Far be it from us to dis short hairstyles on women, but seeing as preteen social circles can be damn unforgiving for such sudden and brutal transformations, we’re guessing that hair-related juvenile crime in Carbon County dropped by roughly a billion percent when the girls showed up to school the next day.
An Idiot Driver Is Sentenced To Hold A Sign That Says She’s An Idiot Driver
Let’s say you’re driving and spot a school bus that goes a little too slow for your tastes. Instead of driving by at full speed with its door open, and having the kids jump in as it passes, it keeps making annoying stops so they can get on, like the coddled wussies that they are. How would you react? Get annoyed at the stopped bus and swerve on the freaking sidewalk to get past it? Really?
Congratulations: You’re Shena Hardin, a Cleveland driver whose superpower is making the absolute worst decisions while behind the wheel. Fortunately, her moronic stunt didn’t send her car plowing through a bunch of 7-year-olds, but it was still an arrest-worthy jerk move. The judge wasn’t particularly enamored, either, especially as it turned out she had pulled the same stunt several times in the past.
The court dealt her a sentence that was custom designed to make sure that everyone knew what a dumbass she’d been. Apart from the obligatory fines and driver’s license suspensions, Hardin had to spend two mornings on a street corner, holding a sign that told in no uncertain terms what the judge thought of her actions:
"Yeah, whatever not-me person who did that is STUPID!"
Note how she’s not explicitly named in the sign. It’s left to the reader’s interpretation whether it is, in fact, talking about her. That is until the media latched on to the case like remora.
Still, the judge wasn’t happy, because as you can see in the above image, Hardin didn’t exactly seem regretful. She spent the first morning texting, smoking, and just kind of hanging the sign in a casually defiant way that didn’t actually scream repentance. So the judge contacted Hardin’s attorney. While we don’t know precisely what kind of discussion they had, we assume that words were most certainly had. It must have worked, because the next day, she stood at attention, holding the sign up high ...
"Nope, still not me. I'm just an advocate for sidewalk safety."
… after which she issued a public statement, saying that she’d learned her lesson.
A Forger Is Sentenced To Spend The Next 5 Christmases In Jail
Betina Young, who weirdly is the second Ohio-based lady on this list, was busted for selling illegal ID cards and driver’s licenses in 2013. She wasn't exactly pulling a Good Samaritan by providing fake IDs for desperate 1980s action heroes who have been framed for murder and need to rescue their daughter from kidnappers before the bomb explodes. She was using her position at the deputy registrar's office to falsify records for illegal immigrants. For a fee, of course.
Judge Michael Holbrook recognized Young’s actions as a pretty clear example of the bad kind of hustle and decided to introduce her to a good one: Namely, the Holbrook Holiday.
“It features way fewer margaritas than you’d expect.”
Judge Holbrook is the kind of guy who actually gives thought to his sentences instead of just shoving people in an already bulging prison for a designated amount of time. The Holbrook Holiday is the end station of that line of thought. He determines a day of year which is particularly precious for the person. Then, he takes that day away.
For Betina Young, that meant spending Christmas Day in jail... for the next 5 years. In recognition of the fact that this actually doesn’t do much to motivate her to be nice (after all, Santa rarely makes stops in jail), he also tacked on a 5-year probation, the breaking of which could give her up to 15 years of prison time.
Let’s stop for a moment to appreciate the simple efficiency of that punishment. In actual jail time, it amounts to just a couple of weeks, so you can still go about your life fairly normally. But every year, you know that your Christmas is going to the dogs. Every year, once Christmas decorations magically appear in all the stores in freaking October, you start dreading the inevitable “Yeah, I can’t make it this year, I’m in jail” discussions you need to have with each and every relative and friend that brings up the holidays. And after a couple of years, they don’t even ask anymore. They just shoot you these sympathetic and/or disgusted looks that make your skin crawl. By the 4th year, you wonder if you’re even invited for Christmas anymore after your sentence ends.
That’s the stuff that really makes you think of what you’ve done.
Judge Holbrook came up with the concept back in 2004, and as of 2013, he had applied it to suitable cases about 40 times. We here at the Modern Rogue like to think that it’s a sentence he reserves exclusively for aspiring rogues gone wrong like Betina Young, just to show them the error of their ways: “See, kid? This is how it should be done.”
Like this article? Check out "5 Awful Pranks That Backfired So Hard, They Made The News" and "Rogue Or Criminal? The Important Difference (And Why You Should Know)".