Wednesday, October 14, 2009

People v. Henning (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 14, 2009)

Bored with the typical vacation? I got a new idea. First, stay awake for about a full week. Think that's going to be hard? Use crystal meth every day. Also spice in some ecstacy, crack, alcohol, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. That should get you going. Then, after you've been up for a week, play a 10-hour marathon of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. You know, the one where you're at the wheel, driving around, committing crimes and blasting everything in sight. Remember to keep taking your liberal doses of hallucinogenic drugs throughout.

Once you're done with the marathon, then think to yourself: "Hey, you know what'd be really fun? To actually do all that stuff in Grand Theft Auto in real life." So get into your car, put on a black ski mask, drive to a random business, pull out a sawed-off shotgun, and start acting crazy (or, more accurately, continue to act crazy). Talk about a good time! What could possibly go wrong?

This, at least, must have been Jaisen Henning's thought process at the time. Since he did all of the above. Except what went wrong was (1) real life isn't a video game, (2) the employees at the random business -- a Days Inn -- only had $2, (3) Henning forgot to set the parking brake on his car (another downside of hallucinogens), so in the middle of the robbery he saw his car rolling down the inclined driveway and ran outside to stop it, (4) at which point an off-duty detective driving his car on an errand saw Henning, complete with black ski mask and sawed-off shotgun, run outside of the lobby and after his car, and promptly gave case, and (5) unlike Grand Theft Auto, in the resulting high-speed police chase, as usual, the police -- not the robber -- win. And Henning gets convicted at trial. Which, again, is not a typical component of the video game, but which is a very real component of actual life. As is prison. For 17 years, four months.

Okay, on second thought, maybe that's not such a great vacation idea. So I guess it's Hawaii again. Plain old, boring Hawaii. But with a beach and no iron bars. Which is nice.