A lot of humour is based on someone's bad luck, most of us are capable of "seeing the funny side" when we are on the receiving end, even if we didn't at the time. The classic slapstick of a man slipping on a banana skin may raise a laugh, but what if the fall breaks his neck?
The crime of Lorena Bobbitt raised laughs around the world, but was it really anything to laugh about? On the night of June 23, 1993, while her husband John was asleep, she got up from their bed, took a knife from the kitchen, cut off his penis, and taking it with her, drove off and threw it into a field.
Almost too late she came to her senses and dialed 911. Amazingly, the organ was not only retrieved but after being packed in ice and taken to the hospital, was reattached to its owner. At one time even with this kind of "luck", John Bobbitt would have at best have remained toolless for the rest of his life; at worst, he would have died.
Lorena Bobbitt was tried for her crime, and incredibly it was her husband who found himself on trial. She accused him of both spousal abuse and marital rape blaming her assault on post-traumatic stress disorder. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity, a verdict that was not entirely unreasonable.
The following year, John Wayne Bobbitt found himself on trial for spousal rape, and was acquitted. There is little doubt they had a tempestuous marriage, but it remains to be seen if whatever violence there may have been was all one-sided, and the opening statement
of Lorena Bobbitt's attorney in the first trial beggars belief.
After both cases, John Wayne Bobbitt was left with heavy medical and legal bills which led to his cashing in on his notoriety in a manner that would have made most men flinch. In addition to the unavoidable documentaries he starred in what has been called an adult comedy: Frankenpenis
Bobbitt also had a number of run-ins with the law. It remains to be seen what part the events of June 23, 1993 played in what could have been a downward spiral into a long prison term or worse, but people have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder or gone off the rails over lesser things.
Perhaps most disturbingly for society, this well-publicised, bizarre but at heart savage crime has led to a number of copycat crimes, including 2 years ago by Catherine Kieu Becker
Again, before laughing at this, ask yourself if you would laugh at a copycat murder, rape, or even this so-called happy slapping
that ended in tragedy?