A weird week in the news
Tim Whyte · May 25, 1997
This week's assortment of crackpots, politicians, minor celebrities, adulterers and other weirdos:
- 30 -
- Mr. Suck My Duck is back: Gary Shaw, a 39-year-old Valencia
resident, claims he's being harassed by the local authorities who have filed spousal abuse
charges against him. His wife Diane agrees, saying the whole thing was
a misunderstanding. She, in fact, has now been accused of trying to intimidate local
gendarmes into dropping the whole matter.
Shaw is best remembered for winning a First Amendment lawsuit a few years back in which
he fought and defeated a charge of disturbing the peace after posting a sign in his van that
read, "Officer J. Banks can suck my duck." Banks apparently
had cited Shaw for a traffic violation, and Shaw was, well, irked.
Now. Before you go jumping to the conclusion that Shaw wanted Deputy Banks to have a
mouthful of feathers, it's helpful to know that the U in the word "duck" on Shaw's
sign was, how shall we say, vertically scaled. It was a very tall, narrow U, so
narrow that, to the casual observer, it could be mistaken for an I, which of course gives the
whole feather metaphor a completely different meaning.
At the time of that court battle, I was something of a rookie city editor, filling in as editorial
writer while the boss was on vacation. I wrote a scathing editorial chastising Shaw for
wasting the court's time.
Problem was, I got caught up so much in my understandable disdain for Shaw that I forgot
to temper the editorial with all of the standard newspaper defenses of the First Amendment.
I was wrong; I overlooked, for a moment, the constitutional guarantees of free speech and
every citizen's right to say what he wants, write what he wants and be a jerk if he wants.
What can I say? I got carried away with the overall absurdity of the case.
Should Shaw have put up the sign? Well, in the interest of class and common sense, no.
But should he have been prosecuted for venting his irritation in that manner? No way.
In this latest incident, Gary claims police harassment is the real motivating factor behind the
spousal abuse charge, and Diane has allegedly accused an African-American deputy district
attorney of being in the KKK.
Charming couple, eh?
- Air Force Lt. Kelly Flinn: Welcome to the You-Made-Your-Bed-Now-Sleep-In-It
department. I didn't think Flinn deserved prison time for her offenses, but when
you join the military, many civilian rules and protections go out the window. The military
is a fighting force, not a private business. For her adultery, disobedience of direct orders
and lying under oath, the general discharge was appropriate.
- Let's get this straight: Eddie Murphy has to go to a part of town
frequented by she-males to pick up a newspaper in the wee hours of the morning and often
gives "girls" rides home to get them off the street. Hmmm . . . he may not be
guilty of soliciting a prostitute, but given the kinds of surprises the streets can hold, he's a
fool at the very least.
- As is often the case, the problem with Councilwoman Jill Klajic wasn't
so much the point she was trying to make. The real problem was her insensitivity toward
others. In this particular instance, she insulted Deputy Joe Trejo, who is
assigned to the Downtown Newhall community center on weekdays.
At a council meeting a few weeks back, Klajic suggested -- falsely, by all other accounts --
that Trejo does little more than sit around drinking coffee. This week, at a Newhall
community meeting, numerous residents came to the deputy's defense, prompting the
councilwoman to do that ever-popular dance the Klajic Backpedal.
"I don't really know Joe, although I think he has done a wonderful job," Klajic
said, explaining that her real concern wasn't that she thinks Trejo is a goof-off, but that she
thinks Downtown Newhall law enforcement as a whole needs to be stepped up, perhaps
with increased patrols.
Fair enough. In fact, after hearing her most recent explanation of her concern, I think she
may have a good point. But she didn't have to publicly rake Trejo over the coals to make it.
- Marv Albert. Oh, never mind.
- How would you like to be a fly on the wall over at Frank and
Kathie Lee Gifford's place right about now? Regardless of whether Frank
has been shtupping a stewardess, it was awfully sleazy of that tabloid -- what was it? The
Weekly Weenie? -- to do the hidden camera thing on something that really shouldn't be of
By the way: What turns a normal hotel room into a "love nest?"
©TIM WHYTE | PUBLISHED BY PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED