Monday, June 28, 2010

Iron Man

As soon as the sun arrived in the samll town of Glenrowan in Victoria Australia, on June 28th 1880, it was obvious to Ned Kelly that things were not going well. The previous days plan included the derailing of train full of constables; the presence of the constables surrounding Ned, his gang, and their seventy-or-so hostages in the Glenrowan Inn was proof that the derailment did not go so well. The problem was a milk-sop of a schoolmaster named Tom Curnow who had successfully pleaded with Ned to let him go. Tom had run straight up to the railroad and flagged down the train before it could hit the section of track the Kelly gang had pulled up. Ned would never be so soft on a hostage again.

In 1970 Ned Kelly was played by none other than Mick Jagger in a movie titled “Ned Kelly”. Just a few years before his death, Heath Ledger (of Joker fame) played Kelly in another film about his life titled “Ned Kelly”. No more imagination as is shown in titling movies about his life is needed to script one. Once, after turning himself in for drunkenness, a constable named Lonigan decided to inflict discomfort on Ned by grabbing his testicles and twisting them (so called black balling). Ned is quoted as telling constable Lonigan, through gritted teeth: "If I ever shoot a man, Lonigan, it'll be you!". He eventually did shoot constable Lonigan. Peter Phelps would have grabbed Heath Ledger; Liam Reynolds would have had the distinction of grabbing Mick Jagger.

Ned’s gang had garnered fame by burning mortgage deeds while robbing banks. He was sometimes likened to Robin of Locksley for this mischief. His most awesome activity would be conducted shortly after dawn on June 28th 1880. It was on this day that he earned an unimpeachable spot in the international league of awesomeness.

Ned and his gang had commissioned suits of solid iron bullet-proof plate armor to be made for them. On this day, in 1880, they would get to try them out. It would actually have been better if they had tried them out sometime before they were being shot at, but schedules are always tight and testing is often not given the priority it should have. Although bullet-proof, Ned found out that he could not aim and fire his weapon. The suit also forced him to walk like a zombie. Undaunted Ned covered the suit (which was kind-of like a large sewer-pipe with arm-holes cut out of it) with a large coat (It was mid-winter in Australia, where this took place) and left the Inn to advance on the constables that surrounded it. The armor still displays two bullet dents which were delivered with deadly accuracy. Ned continued to advance and at least one constable ran away from the unkillable zombie in terror. Unlike zombies, Ned’s week spot was his legs (It’s the head for zombies) as they were not covered by armor. He fell over after being shot in the legs a couple of times; later he was tried and hung.

One of his gang members had armor that lacked coverage for his groin. This may have allowed him to move easier, but we will not know, as he was just standing at the Glenrowan Inn bar having a crack of dawn whiskey when a shot to the groin severed his femoral artery and he subsequently bled to death.

It seems to me there should be a moral in this story someplace…perhaps
“Don’t grab a crazy person’s testicles”
“Always make sure your PPE has been credibly tested before relying on it”
“Make sure your groin is properly covered if you are going to drink whiskey before 10AM”

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