I really gotta stop looking for humorous inspiration in the news for my column.  Sure there are always funny bits in the news, some easier than others, like Rush Limbaugh being outed as a drug abusing criminal, but more often than not it's just not very funny.  Today, for example, John Walton, the heir to the Wal-Mart billions -- the 11th richest person on the planet earth, according to the Forbes 100 -- died in a plane crash.  That's just not funny.  Granted it's odd, but not a knee-slapper, unless you're the next BTK killer, in which case I'd really rather you go visit a different website, despite the fact that we seem to discuss psychopaths and social deviants a bit more than the average humor zine.

Editor's MessIt's odd because I'm always suspicious when the 11th richest person on the planet dies in an "accident."  I tend to think that if I, for example, had a little over $18 billion, these types of accidents wouldn't happen to me.  For one thing, I'd make damn sure not to skimp on the "airplane maintenance" fund.  For christsake I've got $18 billion here.  Pay the man.  This is no part of the budget to be cheap on.  Make the wheels solid gold if it'll help.

For another thing, I'd make sure to surround myself with large guys with little to no neck who carry large aperture weaponry and have the legal right to blow gaping holes in people who try to harm me.  Being the 11th richest homo sapien, I can imagine there'd be way more people who'd love to see me slip on a banana peel and drop down a mine shaft "on accident" than those who'd rather not. I'm guessing there's something like 6,500,000,000 more people, in fact.  And at least 89 of them have a whole lot of resources to draw upon.  Including banana companies and significant mining interests.

So when both the no neck guys and airplane maintenance funds seem to have disappeared, and the 11th most wealthy ape descendent goes the way of the dodo bird -- a decorated Green Beret, no less -- it certainly raises an eyebrow with people as suspicious, paranoid and realistic as myself.  I don't pretend to understand what it's like to have that kind of wealth, but when it comes to understanding people who envy people who do, you can call me as an expert witness.

 I don't think you need to be a tinfoil-topped conspiracy nut to imagine there were a lot of people close to this guy who'll profit from his untimely demise, but as surely as O.J. can hit a birdie on any of America's finest golf courses and super-freak Michael Jackson can sleep comfortably in a bed full of children, money can buy a certain degree of legal blindness, or at least temporary blindness.  Really, who do you think gouged out Lady Justice's eyes in the first place?

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