February 3, 2015
A Culvert County second-grader is in critical condition tonight after a SWAT team shot him four times in the process of serving a warrant to check his home for illegal light bulbs.
The Culvert County SWAT team was responding to a tip that was forwarded to them by General Electric, which says it received the tip from an anonymous source concerned that Timmy Bartholomew, 7, was doing his math homework by light provided by a 100 watt incandescent bulb, rather than GE’s more energy-efficient CFLs. Thanks to light bulb efficiency standards passed as part of the 2008 energy bill, traditional incandescent bulbs are no longer legal.
A police spokesman said he regretted the fact that Mr. Bartholomew needed to be shot so many times, but he said that an internal review conducted before lunch today showed that the police had followed standard protocol.
“The police officers walked up to the front door and rang the bell,” the spokesman said. “They calmly and clearly announced that they had come to check the family’s home for incandescents. Mr. Bartholomew became belligerent, and refused to allow entry to officers, who were forced to use a battering ram to break down the door. At this point, Mr. Bartholomew attempted to urinate upon the officers.”
Mr. Bartholomew’s parents, Jill and Porter Bartholomew of 129 Bleeker Road, the green house on the corner with the door bashed in, claim that their son wasn’t trying to urinate on the officers, but had “[w]et his pants because he was scared that 14 men carrying guns and wearing ski masks had broken into the house.”
When asked to comment on why it required 14 SWAT members with semi-automatic weapons to serve a warrant on a seven year-old boy, the spokesman said, “Our first priority is ensuring the safety of our officers, so that they can ensure the safety of our citizens.”
Police say they warned the boy to stop urinating or he would be shot, but that he continued to do so. “He also started crying,” the spokesman continued. “It was like he was mocking the officers.”
The shooting comes just one month after police had successfully shut down an illegal bulb lab in Lower Heights. That raid was highlighted during President Scott Brown‘s most recent State of the Union address, in which he announced that funding for the War on Incandescents would be increased by 164%. Police estimate that the lab had been turning out illegal 100-watt incandescent bulbs at a rate of about 500 per day.
“The city is being flooded by these illegal incandescents,” the police spokesman said. “Those things are literally ticking timebombs, ready to explode the minute people put them into their light sockets.” The illegal incandescents are created using an unstable filament, which makes them much more deadly than traditional incandescent bulbs, which are now illegal to manufacture.
A protest group, Citizens Fighting for our Lights (who ironically call themselves “The CFL”), took the opportunity of Mr. Bartholomew’s injuries to release a statement decrying the fact that incandescent lights are illegal. “These bulbs are brighter than CFLs, they’re not filled with toxic mercury, they don’t require a ‘warm-up‘ time, and they don’t wear out when you turn them on and off. There’s a black market for incandscents because they’re illegal. Keep the government out of our sockets! We know our lights!”
The police spokesman responded by laughing a joyless laugh that was full of world-weary knowing, and then saying,”Talk to me about ‘warm up times’ after you’ve pulled the body of a dead child from the rubble of a home that’s burned down because one of these illegal incandescents blew up.”
The Bartholomews’ attorney, Jerome Collins, denied that the Bartholomews were using incandescents at all. “Their house is full of CFLs,” Mr. Cochran explained. He suggested that the anonymous tip that led to the raid might have been phoned in by a classmate of Mr. Bartholomew, who hated him because of his red hair and freckles.
“What makes this particularly galling,” Mr. Collins added, “is that the police have plenty of real crimes to worry about, such as the importation of dishwashing detergent with phosphates.”
As of tonight, Mr. Bartholomew has been charged with benefiting from illumination provided by incandescent light bulbs. Police are waiting for him to regain consciousness before deciding if further charges are in order.
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