Mike the Mad Biologist

If the Glouchester teen pregnancy scandal isn’t bad enough, now we have to deal with a ninja outbreak. Really:

The librarian-in-training was a few minutes early for work at the Barnegat branch of the Ocean County Library on Wednesday morning when she saw a man dressed in what looked like black pajamas sprinting past the parking lot carrying a large sword.

“I was like, “Did I really just see a ninja?’ ” said Shilling, 23.

Turns out she did not.

The man clad in all black moving stealthily along the wood line was merely a camp counselor on his way to a costume-theme orientation at a nearby school. But Shilling did not know that when she dialed the township Police Department to report a man running around with a sword.

After receiving her report, police instituted a lockdown at the township’s public schools as a precaution.

For 17 minutes after Shilling’s 9 a.m. call, movement in and out of school buildings was restricted as officers attempted to locate what Shilling could only describe to them as a ninja, Lt. Patrick Shaffery said. The only students affected were those attending camp activities and student-athletes practicing at the high school, but staff members were at each building.

Officers eventually located Christopher Begley, 18, of Jon Drive, at Russell O. Brackman Middle School wearing a black karate gi with a black belt and sneakers. He was standing with other costumed camp counselors, including a pirate and three-headed man. Begley said he was surprised to hear his outfit had created a commotion.

“They told us to create a persona that reflected our personality for orientation,” said Begley, who has a black belt.

“It was a nice day out, so I decided to walk. I realized I was late so I started to run. I didn’t even think anybody saw me,” he said.

As for the sword, it was a footlong piece of gray plastic in a black holster that he bought from a dollar store.

Shilling admits her initial vision of a ninja is “absurdly strange,” in retrospect, but she stands by her decision to call the police.

“If he didn’t have a weapon, I would have never called,” she said. “I had no idea this would happen.”

Wednesday marked the fifth time the school district has instituted a lockdown since September. Most recently, the district locked the schools June 5 after a false report of a shooting at Southern Regional Middle School in neighboring Stafford.

But I wouldn’t want to leave out the last paragraph, which is the height of absurdity (italics mine):

Other lockdowns were prompted by a K-9 search for robbery suspects, a domestic dispute involving a student’s parents and a trespasser at Barnegat High School. The trespasser in the latter incident, township resident Rafael Adorno, was found guilty in Municipal Court on April 14 of trespassing on school property, but was elected to the district Board of Education the next day.

We, as a nation, have gone out of our fucking minds.


  1. #1 Snarly Old Fart
    June 27, 2008

    I suspect that most of these are bogus. Some people will seize on the thinnest of excuses to cry wolf and watch the fun that ensues. If SWAT shows up and somebody gets scared half to death, or, even better, murdered, all the better. The problem will continue to increase simply because the police are immune, legally, from being blamed for overreaction or poor judgement.

    The cops will say they have to respond to every possible this or that, and out of the other side of their mouth they will tell citizens why they don’t have to do anything when we call them for real help.

  2. #2 sthomps
    June 27, 2008

    The fact that she saw him should have been an indicator that he wasnt a ninja.

    If you see a real ninja, you’re already dead….

  3. #3 AgnosticOracle
    June 27, 2008

    Shilling admits her initial vision of a ninja is “absurdly strange,” in retrospect, but she stands by her decision to call the police.

    “If he didn’t have a weapon, I would have never called,” she said.

    One has to wonder how much sword violence this woman thinks there is in the US.

  4. #4 Onkel Bob
    June 28, 2008

    Agnostic Oracle, it’s obvious you didn’t attend Fresno State (CSU Fresno)

    A former Fresno State basketball player was convicted yesterday of threatening a man with a Samurai sword in his apartment…

    NY Times

  5. #5 rpsms
    June 28, 2008

    I was once threatened by a man with a tomato.

  6. #6 The Somewhat Befuddled Ghost Of Groucho Marx
    June 29, 2008

    What he was doing with your tomato, I’ll never know!

  7. #7 Daggerstab
    June 29, 2008

    Well, there is a surprising number of assaults committed with a sword or a sword-like weapon

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