Thursday, October 18, 2007

Scientific theory

Here’s the scenario: you’re walking down the street during the pre-dawn hours of the morning and there it is: a perfectly serviceable brick, placidly resting on the sidewalk in front of an unblemished plate-glass door. Like any common street-dweller in Schenectady’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood, you decide to pick up the brick and test how it and the laws of physics might affect the aforementioned glass, if a touch of propulsion is added.

This was the dilemma faced by esteemed local Physicist John Philip Sayers as he was strolling out for his morning latte and a copy of the Wall Street Journal; would the glass break? As he speculated using advanced quantum theory, the pane shattered, leaving a gaping hole into the gritty darkened electronics bodega.

But before the young theorist could advance forward to his intended destination, another burning question blazed a trail across his whirring thought process: what if some sort of anomalous gravitational pull somehow created an electromagnetic field across freshly created hole, thereby thwarting entrance into the store? The store’s alarm hadn’t gone off, meaning there was a chance such a freakish scientific event was occurring.

So in the interest of science, Sayers decided it would be a good idea to try passing something through the broken doorway; namely himself. Lo and behold, he was able to enter the store, where he then realized some unaware shopper had carelessly left his or her collection of cell phones beneath a display case. Being the upstanding citizen that he is, Sayers decided to collect the devices with full intention of bringing them to the proper authorities.

Of course, there was one more experiment Sayers needed to conduct before leaving: gauge the reaction of store owner Donald Khemraj as a strange man repeatedly pummels the metal-reinforced glass store front with a pipe wrench. Regrettably, the store owner didn’t all that interested in Sayers’ research. And before he could explain his ground-breaking work, the shopkeeper pumped his chest full of buckshot.

The rampaging store owner and his son –clearly bent on some sort of sadistic war path –were about to make a Jackson Pollack mural with the contents of Sayers’ head before the police pulled up, he told the Times Union in an “exclusive” interview

“I basically gave up, and you shoot me, so basically the police saved my life,” groaned the 21-year-old man from his Albany Medical Center hospital bed.

Saved his life and then beat him mercilessly, Sayers went on to explain. They cursed at him. They kicked him. They callously ignored his pleas for the better interest of science until he collapsed and pointed to the quarter-sized hole blown through his bicep.

The bi-polar “good kid” who admitted to being “disrespectful” on bad days just wants a chance to start from scratch. However, with all the publicity he and his family have brought to this case, it’s tough to say if another chance is even a possiblity. In his hour-long interview with the reporter, Sayers all but admitts to the charges against him. The man described as having “the mental ability of an 8-year-old” also apparently spoke to the reporter without once receiving proper counsel, something that could further complicate the case down the road.

Yes, there’s quite a different story dripping from the headlines in the days following Sayers’ botched burglary. And it’s debatable whether the TU’s hyper-coverage –including speculation from unaffiliated defense attorneys –has done anything other than muddy the waters for investigators, as they try to gauge the shopkeeper’s culpability.

It’s not something attorneys on either side will welcome, given the case is already showing some hallmarks of another vigilante shooting that took place in a New York City subway car more than two decades ago. The innocents in “The Hill” these days are scarred and scared. There’s a shooting almost every day and a killing once a month. It’ll be interesting to see the community’s reaction if diabetic Guyanese business owner in his late-50s is lead away in cuffs for doing what the city police seemingly can’t do: protect the neighborhood.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is your blog and you can do what you want. However, I suppose as a patron of your column, I can tell you in earnest that most of us (your patrons) are interested primarily in saratoa politics. We don't give a shit about Schenectady and their shootings. Of course, I am sure that you notice a lack of comments (how many times a day do you check this site?)
In any event, as an admirer and a patron of yours please give us more saratoga politics.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

I guess it goes back to the adage that you can please some of the people all the time and all of the people some of the time. Sometimes, however, I’ve got to please my own inner beast. And when a newspaper takes a guy like this and blows him into a front page story –one that makes him sound like a quasi-angel that just happened to launch a brick –I’ve got to let the inner beast roar.

But point well taken. After all, this is iSaratoga, not iHamiltonHill. And thankfully so.

2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shotinthedark - Schenectady isn’t so far away. An autonomous and embarrassingly corrupt Police Department whose “state of the art” comand center has never provided the preventative protection its proponents initially promised its taxpayers finally, having to admit to little response enforcement and efficiency. The City’s Ward System fails its public because representation is spotty at best and unavailable most of the time. The imagined endless “revenue streams” of GE and its local cadre of support industries (like our promoted perpetual VLT transfusions and endless condo development fees) dried up leaving the residents and retailers to bail out after reduced services and higher taxes. No, it’s not far away. It’s a good study – even if it is a brick’s throw away.

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an ex-Saratogian (habitant, not journalist), I have been enjoying your blog tremendously... but I really like the variety of stories. Touch on the local politics, but please stray outside the box now and then and keep covering things outside the Spa City.

As far for the citizens of Schenectady... they should all rent Death Wish and fight back!

4:29 AM  
Anonymous Milhouse said...

Lighten up Shotinthedark. I for one appreciate the break from the moronic local political scene every once in a while. Not much to comment on with this story, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

Anonymous #1

Very salient points, especially about the police station. In fact, I almost considered fashioning a similar blog entry not too long ago. Great Post.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schenectady is not that far away. We now have a bus running from downtown Schenectady to downtown Saratoga every hour. For a buck some "good kid" can take a ride and do a little shopping in our city.

Who thought the bus system would be a good idea?

10:05 AM  
Blogger Drew said...

YEah, those bus systems that so many people like to tout as "good" things, have more negative impact than positive imo.
The bus service should be discontinued and the tax monies put to something other than giving what amounts to a free ride to sugartown.

8:02 AM  

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