What do you do when you hit on a girl in a bar and she's not interested?

One possibility would be to get stinking drunk, then later, find her and her male companion and run them over with your car.

At this point, we can't be sure that this is what happened, but the circumstantial evidence suggests that this may have been the nature of Kandyce Stoffel's tragic death Monday in Minneapolis. Kandyce was a student at UMN, about to graduate, and the driver, John Robert Peterson, a high school tennis coach. One other person was hurt in the incident.

The only reason I even know about this is because I've been doing something unusual (for me ... these days) ... tracking the local news. I'm doing that because it is election season, but what I'm seeing is a reminder that the world is a strange place, and in my humble opinion, certain things get stranger as you get closer to Minnesota.

When I first moved here, all I knew about the state was what I saw in the movie Fargo. I did not expect Minnesota to be that Coen Brotheresque, but it turns out it very much can be. One of the first notable news stories that occurred when I first moved here was the discovery of five or six bodies in a grain silo in Minneapolis. Murdered. I don't remember why, but there was some sort of gangland connection.

Besides the Kandyce Stoffel killing, which may or may not have been an "accident" (but either way is quite tragic) we have the current story of the rich eCapitalist and his three sons from "soutwest Minneapolis" down in the mountains in their airplane. Also very, very tragic. But I can't help but to have my reaction to it all colored by the subtitle of the family's website, "Four cars, three kids, two houses" and the fact that they refer to themselves as living in "southwest Minneapolis" There is no such place. It's South Minneapolis (there is only a South, North, Northeast, and Southeast, and Downtown. No "southwest.") that is a term used by the wealthy white yuppies that live on the western side of South, who prefer to distance themselves from the rest of the area which is not as rich and not as white. (But better. Much much better.) So I feel bad for the family that seems to have crashed to death in Wyoming in their flying boy toy, but I think I might not like them too much if I met them. Not that I don't like rich people. Some of my best friends are rich people, but generally, my friends have a sense of perspective and know about exclusionary language and stuff.

Then there's this: "Wisconsin man to judge: 'I'd throw the book at me'" Wisconsin is just as strange as Minnesota (I know because I lived there for a year) but in it's own, special way. This is about a man who did some very very bad things and that is what he said to the judge. He had a disagreement with one of his buddies so he stabbed him to death. Throw the book at him, indeed.

Meanwhile, down in Fairmont, there was a house fire and some dick shot a private citizen and a cop, both of whom having come to the scene to help. The shooter's body was later found, all dead and stuff, near the scene. Gun control anyone?

If you are local to the Twin Cities, you may know about the Intersection from Hell (because of it's long, very very long, red light) at 10 and 96 up in Mound (or somewhere). Yesterday, it became the Intersection of Mayhem and Destruction when some moron driving a Hundai though he could take on a tanker truck. The tanker truck rolled. The driver of the semi got out of his truck to check on the driver of the car, and was promptly run over by some soccer mom in a minivan. He is now in critical condition.

Even this is strangely local. Or locally strange. Or, as they say, just "loco." Sunday, the Vikings beat the Packers by four points. Unfortunately, six or seven of the Vikings' points were stolen from them by the obviously paid off officiating staff who took a perfectly normal run of the mill touchdown and decided to not call it a touch down. (I wonder how much an NFL ref gets paid for this?) Brad Childress made major noise about it, complaining that the officiating sucked (which it did). Because he complained, he was fined $35,000.00. Unbelievable. But wait, there's more. He did meet with the NFL officials, and the NFL officials admitted not only that this touchdown was legit and should not have been overturned, but another play by Green Bay, a touchdown, really wasn't. So, Brad Childress made this revelation public, and now the NFL is mad at him for that. I think I've had about enough of football. I may lay off watching the game until they fire a bunch of these crooked, bribe taking refs. And MLB too. THEY"RE ALL BuMS!!!1!!

We have lots of corruption here and nearly perfect denial that the average Minnesotan is in fact a crook. We even have voter fraud.

And strangest of all, we have Michele Bachmann, who doesn't even know the proper way to spell her name, and who is now planning to "...host classes on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for fellow House members when she returns to Washington." OMG.

One of our local suburbs is up in arms because race/class/poverty leveling in school districting is being implemented. Some white kids are going to have to go to school with some black kids. Yes, folks, we have racism too.

That's what I get for reading the local news.

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My understanding from Mark Ritchie (who goes to my church) is that most of the voter fraud is felons who vote because they don't know that they are not supposed to. In many cases, they have tried to find out and gotten contradictory answers, so they vote, unaware that this will put them right back into the product-handling division of the for-profit prison industry. I know anecdotally of a man who tried to figure out if he could vote, voted anyway, found out this crime violated his probation, and lost his Section 8 housing and his dog when he was re-imprisoned. For voting. Well, for violating his parole by voting illegally, but you get the idea.

The only misgiving I have about the death of that young woman is that it must have been awfully opportunistic of the driver. The couple apparently were walking in the street, and all of the roads by the U are one-way, so either he was lurking a block back waiting for them to step off the curb (which you think other drivers might have objected to), or he happened upon them as he was driving, recognized the couple, and decided to hit them. It's almost as easy to believe it was coincidence, he'd have run over anybody on the street at that time and place.

The football thing just makes me even MORE eager to have Hennepin County officials jam another stadium tax down my throat. But really, why would we expect a bunch of knuckledragging testosterone addicts to be any less corrupt than our own federal Congress?

The sad thing about the story of the traffic accident is that this happens all the time. I lost a good friend when his car was in a minor fender-bender on an icy road. He got out to exchange insurance info and was struck and killed by a third car hitting the same icy patch. What's really appalling is the amount of death and mayhem we accept as part and parcel of the automotive lifestyle.

By the way, you left out the fellow who was killed riding a bike yesterday, but then all the sympathy dried up (despite the fact that he could have been almost any biker in that bike lane) because it turned out he stole the bike. The magical thinking crew now simply see this as faster work by their Big Daddy In the Sky than is usually the case.

By Albatross (not verified) on 27 Oct 2010 #permalink

Will Bachmann be returning to Washington? I somehow got signed up for Taryl Clark's mailing list (I guess because I signed that "censure Bachmann" petition in 2008), and they make it sound like Clark is winning, but I think they might be biased.

Albatross: I believe that is correct inre the voter fraud, according to MPR news this AM

You obviously know the campus. If I knew someone was in a particular bar and heading home at 1AM I could easily set up a driving pattern by which I could cross paths with them a number of times, assuming that I assumed that they would be heading home. The part about the three of them being in the road at the time may well have been opportunistic, unless he was waiting on the side of the road estimating that they would walk down that street.

In Dinkytown, at 1AM on Sunday, half the people out are walking in the street, and they are all drunk. Cars wade, not drive, through the neighborhood.

Are you serious? The guy killed in Minneapolis had stolen that bike? I had not heard that. Yes, indeed, that should have been on the list of Coenesque Events of the Day.