How may I direct your call?

We toured this Amish farmhouse built in the 18...
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My call to 911 went smoothly. Now that I’m waiting for the ambulance to arrive I can’t help wonder as you do, what’s going on with those wacky Amish? CBS news reported the arrests of a roving band of excommunicated Amish who broke into the homes of mainstream Amish families and cut off the beards of the men inside. The police were not notified right away as the victims were not able to call 911 (think about it, they’re AMISH. Ah, now you’ve got it). While it’s not in my nature to make light of crime I kind of wish they could have called 911. I’d love to have seen the video from the police dashboard camera of the police chase; 300 horse power police cars vs. one horsepower Amish get-away buggy. That would have been something to see.

Unfortunately unlike the Amish, Ana Perez did phone 911. She reported that her boyfriend was beating her. Police rushed to the scene only to discover there was no attack taking place. Apparently Ms. Perez was tired of waiting for her boyfriend to pop the question, so she phoned the police to scare him into action. A bit of a logic fail there I fear. Ms. Perez was charged with disorderly conduct and her boyfriend? Strangely, he is still not interested in marrying her.

Using 911 in the quest for romance is more common than I would have thought. Take the case of Bernadette Music, 43 of Northwood, Ohio. Bernadette called 911 to get the dispatcher’s help in finding a date. When police arrived Ms. Music was urinating in the hall of her apartment building. Problems getting a date wow now that’s a mystery.

It’s not only the lovelorn that seek help via 911. No, let’s not ignore the quest for a satisfactory customer experience. Jean Fortune of Boynton Beach, Florida phoned 911 to complain that he was not happy that he could not get lemonade with his order at a local Burger King restaurant. Mr. Fortune was charged with abuse of 911 communications. No word on whether lemonade is available at the Boynton Beach police station. 

Responsible people also use 911. Robert Beatty, 35 of Regina, Saskatchewan was driving to Moose Jaw when he pulled over to the side of the road and called 911. Mr. Beatty reported that he was too drunk to drive. When police arrived they found Beatty patiently waiting for them. His blood alcohol level was .20. He was charged with impaired driving and later pled guilty; proof that shows we Canadians can be stupid but still be polite.

Not to be outdone, kudos have to go out to Timothy James Chapek of Portland Oregon. Mr. Chapek was in the process of burglarizing a home when the owner unexpectedly returned (at least to the burglar) along with his two German Shepherd dogs. The burglar locked himself in the bathroom and, wait for it, he phoned 911 for help. Mr. Chapek was arrested at the scene for first-degree criminal trespass. Woof.

Speaking of dogs, I’m guessing that 4-year old Rottweiler, Faith received some extra doggie treats. Faith is trained to hit the 911 speed dial button in case her owner, Leana Beasley needs help. Ms. Beasley suffered a grand mal seizure and fell from her wheelchair. Faith called 911 and her barking resulted in speedy dispatch of emergency services to the door. Oh yes, Faith also unlocked the door for the police. I wonder if maybe the Amish might want to invest in some trained dogs equipped with their own cell phones. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.

I’m sure Alexander Graham Bell would be proud of how his invention is being used in the 21st century. Don’t get me started on that whole Elisha Gray thing (Really? LOOK IT UP THEN!). That will have to wait for another column.

Originally appeared in The Cascade newspaper.

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