Natural Selection

Why is everyone so upset and aghast at those silly kids (and a handful of grownups who SHOULD KNOW BETTER) trying to recreate the antics seen on the movie Jackass?? It’s called natural selection. Thinning of the herd. Stupid is as stupid does. Let them. We need to filter out that gene pool.

Read about the assinine (pun intended) stunt here.

[Reprinted below]

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/95068_burn11.shtml

Teen burned trying to re-create ‘Jackass’
15-year-old acknowledges fabricating story about assault

Monday, November 11, 2002

By MARGO HORNER
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

On Friday night, after a high school football game, Kelvin Wu and four of his friends tried to re-create a stunt that they’d seen on the MTV show “Jackass.”

Kelvin, 15, soaked his shirt in alcohol, and — as his friends videotaped the prank — the Bellevue teenager set himself on fire.

Something went wrong.

And yesterday, Kelvin was at the burn ward at Harborview Medical Center with first-degree burns to his face, arms and torso.

Although he was in satisfactory condition, Kelvin will remain hospitalized for another week.

At first, Kelvin and his friends told police they left the Issaquah-Skyline football game Friday night when two men walking on a trail had set Kelvin on fire with a cigarette.

But after police found lighter fluid, a backpack, a T-shirt soaked in alcohol, a bottle of rubbing alcohol and the video tape, Kelvin admitted to police that he set himself on fire.

“He apparently left too much alcohol on his shirt,” said Kelvin’s father, Michael Wu. “He thought it would just burn off like in the ‘Jackass’ show.”

The show, a collection of wacky and often dangerous stunts, has been denounced by parents and politicians after several teenagers injured themselves trying to re-create some of the episodes.

In January 2001, a 13-year-old boy in Connecticut allowed two friends to pour gasoline on his legs and feet and set him on fire after seeing a similar stunt on television. He suffered second- and third-degree burns.

Later that year, a 16-year-old Kentucky boy was injured as two of his friends hit him with a car as they tried to re-create another of the show’s stunts, and in Connecticut, a 19-year-old — also inspired by the show — ran through the streets with a chain saw.

Just last week, after seeing the movie “Jackass,” a 14-year-old boy was seen running through the streets of San Jose with flames shooting above his head. A police officer sprayed the teenager with a fire extinguisher, and the teen escaped serious injury.

The movie, which premiered Oct. 25 and is in the Top 5, has raked in $42.1 million so far.

Last night in his hospital bed at Harborview, tears crept out of the corners of Kelvin’s eyes as he warned others that they shouldn’t try to re-create any of the show’s stunts.

“Don’t do it,” he said, “it hurts.”

An interest in stunts

Both the movie and the television series “Jackass” begin with this warning:

“The following show features stunts performed either by professionals or under the supervision of professionals. Accordingly, MTV and the producers must insist that no one attempt to re-create or re-enact any stunt or activity performed on this show. MTV insists that our viewers do not send in any home footage of themselves or others being jackasses. We will not open or view any submissions, so don’t waste your time.”

Kelvin said he was trying to create his own version of the popular MTV show, which had been canceled.

“He said he was going to sell it,” his father said. “He said a lot of people want that kind of tape.”

Kelvin said he thought that the alcohol would quickly burn off and the fire would extinguish itself.

But after five seconds, it started to burn his skin, he said.

That’s when his friends stop videotaping and frantically tried to help Kelvin pull off his T-shirt.

Until early yesterday morning, Kelvin’s father believed his son had been assaulted.

“Everybody was nervous because of the sniper, and we were like ‘Whoa now somebody’s setting people on fire,’ ” Wu said. “I didn’t doubt the fact ever, I believed somebody set fire to him.”

After he learned that his son had lied to police, Wu issued what he called a “statement of truth” to the media.

“I apologize for the confusion caused by my son’s act, which is totally wrong and unacceptable. He is recovering, and I hope he can learn some serious lessons from this.”

And he said he and his wife are embarrassed for what their son has done. But they weren’t too surprised.

“I watched a couple of shows about stunts with him. Those were just documentaries about Evel Knievel and other Hollywood stuntmen,” Wu said. “He expressed some interest. He’s very adventurous.”

Cultural differences

Yesterday, Wu was partly blaming himself and wondering whether he should have raised his son in what he called the traditional Chinese way.

Wu said he and his wife, Susan, have disagreed about parenting since they moved to the United States 22 years ago.

“American culture emphasizes independence and free spirit. There’s a lot of external fun. They’re happy. And they’re encouraged to experiment,” Wu said. “Chinese culture emphasizes more responsibility to the family and the tradition. And more emphasis on obedience and respect.”

“I’m more liberal. I give them more freedom,” Wu said. “Somehow in this case I feel a failure in this part.”

The family has grown from the experience, and he still thinks his son has a bright future.

“It’s not like he did a robbery or stole things, so I still have hope in him.”

Police said Kelvin could face possible charges of obstruction of justice, and reckless burning or reckless endangerment.

As for the boys who helped him carry out the stunt, Kelvin said they would remain friends, and they visited him in the hospital yesterday.

But that could be the last time Kelvin sees them for a while. That’s because Kelvin, his father said, is grounded for “at least a year.”

***
P-I reporter Margo Horner can be reached at 206-448-8030 or moc.ipelttaesnull@renrohogram

? 1998-2002 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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