Tales from the the Valley: Twofer Night


Many years ago, when WC was working as an attorney defending Teamsters during construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, WC defended a man accused of stealing Alyeska’s dunnage. As the facts developed, the investigating officer’s report went something like this. When the cops followed the tire tracks in the fresh snow from the scene of the crime to WC’s client’s door:

Officer Curwen: “Hello, I’m Officer Dave Curwen. I’m investigating the theft of some lumber.”
WC’s Client: “Yeah, that’s us.”

WC’s point here is that, happily for those of us who have some respect for the law, criminals are generally pretty stupid. At least the ones that get caught.

Here’s a precept for these would-be idiot scofflaws:

If you know of a great place to party, get drunk, do drugs, and discharge your arsenal of firearms, the cops know about that place, too.

WC discloses this precept with full recognition that scofflaws are unlikely to read this blog, and the disclosure is unhelpful to the folks who need to know it most. Another instance of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, WC supposes.

Today’s illustrations of the precept comes to us from our friends in the Mat-Su Valley. It seems there’s this great place to party at the Knik River Public Use Area along the Old Glenn Highway.

First, there was 27-year-old Russell Haube. When the police arrived, having heard shots, Haube reportedly admitted to using alcohol, non-prescription Xanax and crystal meth. Haube claimed the firearm went off – repeatedly – by accident. If he was just a tiny bit smarter, he’d have known possession of a firearm buzzed on an assortment of pharmaceuticals might be a crime. If he was a lot smarter, he might not have admitted to the assorted pharmaceuticals. If Haube was as smart as he thinks he is, he might have stayed home for his party.

Haube’s girlfriend was also present for the party. 24-year old Dyane Gray had an outstanding arrest warrant and allegedly possessed Xanax and crystal meth. A slightly smarter person might think it was a good idea to lay low when there’s a warrant out for you. A smarter person might not carry illegal pharms while there was an arrest warrant looking for you. The Dunning-Kruger Effect, again.

The second illustration comes from the same spot off the Old Glenn Highway just a little later the same night. There was this Subaru station wagon in stuck in Brodenburg Creek. 47-year old Michael Cooley, allegedly drunk, had run the Subaru into the creek. His wife, 44-year old Gwen Cooley, had come to the rescue, also allegedly drunk, in a second car. The police report is unclear whether the couple’s two children were passengers with Mom or Dad, but either way they were passengers with a drunk driver. There was an outstanding warrant for Michael. He’s in the slammer for DUI and the warrant. Mom’s in the slammer for DUI and endangering the kids. Things are going to be a little bit of a challenge around the Cooley household for a while, with both parents in the pokey and neither with a driver’s license. If the Cooleys were just a little bit smarter, they might have thought of that.

WC’s point here isn’t just to make fun of the fine citizens of the Mat-Su Valley, although they make it so very easy. The point isn’t even to illustrate the Dunning-Kruger Effect. It’s well-established. WC’s point is that, fortunately for society, most crooks are dumb, unable to think through consequences. Equally unfortunately, the intellectual deficit also leads them to the criminal behavior.

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