Doofus Of The Day #1,077


Today’s award goes not to the “victim” of his own stupidity, but to his father, who seems to have aided and abetted teenage dumbassery so thoroughly as to permanently maim his son.

A student who lost both thumbs after his homemade explosive went off in a high school classroom has been released from a hospital, police in western Michigan said Wednesday.

The 16-year-old boy was suspended and will likely face expulsion proceedings in the Newaygo school district, Newaygo police said.

The teen brought a homemade explosive to Newaygo High School and accidentally detonated it Monday, injuring himself, four other students and a teacher, police said.

The boy lost both thumbs, Newaygo County prosecutor Worth Stay said.

The boy’s father was charged Tuesday with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and manufacture or possession of a Molotov cocktail after police searched his home.

There’s more at the link.

One expects teenagers to do dumb things from time to time.  It’s a rite of passage as they grow up.  We’ve all done it.  But . . . for a father to aid and abet that stupidity, either through direct assistance, or by keeping the ingredients for it readily available at home without any effort to secure them against children or teenagers?  That’s just plain daft!

I have to say, that sort of stupidity is more widespread than I want to admit.  I know of several homes where reloading equipment for ammunition is stored openly on a workbench, including canisters of propellant – to say nothing of firearms and ammunition as well.  I know of homes where powerful fireworks – not just the low-end stuff with which we’re all familiar, but big devices like mortars and shells – are stored without any security at all.  Every year we read of people being injured or killed by fireworks, or shot while hunting because someone shot at movement without checking what was causing it, or other stupidities like that.  I wonder how many fireworks are taken to school by students who got them from their family’s unsupervised stash?

In this case, I wonder whether a suitable punishment might be to amputate the father’s thumbs, so he can experience for himself how his son will be spending the rest of his life?  At least other parents might take warning from such a penalty!



  1. Not to put to fine a point on it, but chemistry sets from my youth had the necessary chemicals. Not to mention the rocketry clubs in high school where you made your own fuel.

    The difference is that in those days parents and teachers tried to help kids learn dangerous things safely. Of course, then as now some kids already knew everything.

    Which may be this kid. Or it may be that he couldn't stand the modern cuddles society that's smothering him.

  2. Ironically, 2 were killed this morning in an explosion of 'industrial fireworks' in a house in Orange County, CA. And yes, the father apparently never taught the boy about not doing stupid things.

  3. Hmmm…. The things my brothers and I got away with would shock young people today. Wouldn't shock the old-timers here, because y'all have done much the same stuff, like making your own black powder, making stump-busting bombs, playing with and 'enhancing' fireworks, disassembling caps to get the powder out for use in bomb-making and enhancing other fireworks, disassembling 'dud' fireworks in order to get the 'magic' out…

    But we all knew about safety because our fathers taught us it.

    Gun safety? When I was 5, my dad taught me the basics of gun safety, which was if I touched his or anyone else's real guns without permission, I would never be able to sit for the rest of my short life. Now go play with my toy guns.

    Yes. This is possibly the direct result of schools being dumbed down and/or bad parenting. Or… well… There was always that one kid who'd do something stupid and take it too far.

    We can't educate or eradicate stupidity and lack of common sense. Stupid should hurt, and common sense needs to be learned.

    Stoves, when on, are hot. Fire burns. Alcohol in large quantities is bad. Being punched hurts. Etc. If you don't teach or allow the child to learn basic pain response, what do you expect to happen?

  4. My high school had a well-stocked chemistry lab, and a teacher who gave extra credit for "Special Projects".

    He also trusted us, a mistake when one is dealing with HS Sophomores.

    Familiar with Mercury Fulminate, or Nitrogen Tri-Iodide?

  5. Made some nitroglycerin as a teenager (in an ice bath), set it off in a farm field. Loved NI3, and made butyl mercaptan stink bombs. Such fun!

  6. At 16, the kid was old enough to know better.

    I may have burned my eyebrows off a few times, but I was careful to keep all pieces of my person firmly attached.
    Treat splodey things with respect.

  7. A kid I grew up with had a father that reloaded his own ammo.
    After what we did with the gunpowder, lucky I have all my bits in the right place.

  8. Ah, teenage years… after some of the stuff I did (e.g., making red fuming nitric acid at home), I'm lucky I still have my lungs, not to mention all my fingers, eyes, etc.
    But I've always been careful with regard to quantities and handling of energetic materials, and discovered electric ignition early on, which kept me at a reasonable distance from things that were supposed to be getting exciting.
    A college classmate made a sample of an organic peroxide (HMTD, perhaps?) – a category I've always avoided – and had an unscheduled detonation owing to its extreme mechanical sensitivity; luckily, he wasn't injured.
    And the stuff various high-school classmates did with match heads, well, I made a point of not being anywhere in the vicinity, but somehow they all survived.
    It's part of Being A Boy, and guidance and supervision would seem to be called for. Alas, the inquisitive and science-minded are more likely to be branded terrorists and/or heretics than to be offered constructive criticism nowadays.

  9. A friend of mine heated railroad signal flares in hot water and skimmed off the nitroglycerine. Apparently, using it by the drop can be very amusing. He was a precocious lad, once putting a demilled Vickers machine gun back into service. (The police drove up as he was working to adjust the cyclic rate. They were not amused.)

  10. would taping a marble to the bottom of a shotgun shell and tossing in the air count? We tired of emptying the shot and tried ducking behind a wall.good fun, but limited by imagining police response times to shots fired.

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