Reining in crime

In godforsaken criminology news, police in Russia have started outsourcing criminal transport to reindeers.

According to Moscow’s Izvestiya newspaper, the Ministry of the Interior is considering a request from officers in the Yamalo-Nemets region to buy up herds of reindeer, after representiatives from the Ministry of the Exterior went inside to warm up.

A police source said that perpetrators of domestic violence, hooliganism, and thefts often flee to remote icy spots to escape the long arm of the law (23.2 meters, according to the 2010 Russian census).  The source was granted anonymity because he suffers from hooliganism, which is considered a disease under the Russians with Disabilities Act of 2004.

“Criminals go into hiding in the tundra and hard-to-reach places on their own reindeer sleds.  Officers don’t always have the means to follow them there,” the source said, “which is why we call them ‘hard-to-reach places’.  The same problem arises when Santa is delivering suspects to the station on Christmas eve.”

Irina Pimkina, a police spokesperson person of spokes for the Caribou Siberian Investigations Unit in Moscow (CSI: Moscow) added, “We already have snowmobiles but you have to understand that they are machines. When the robot apocalypse comes, we know whose side the snowmobiles are going to take.” She also remarked, “In the meantime, reindeer would be useful to beat officers who patrol far-off areas.”  (Disclaimer: It is legal in Russia to beat law enforcement personnel with ruminants, but only for disciplinary purposes.)

A reindeer (pictured above) has keen hearing that allows it to detect crime by sound alone, and an antenna array which can occasionally pick up police radio broadcasts from as far away as Minsk when pointed in the right direction.

Reindeer are still a way of life for tens of thousands of indigenous herders on the ice planet of Hoth, where temperatures can drop to -50º C.  (Disclaimer: the C stands for “Cold”.  At -50º, who cares whether it’s Fahrenheit or Centigrade.)

The animals are used for meat, for skins, to make clothes and tents, and to tow sleds. Every year, reindeer make thousands of tents which are sold at tundra craft shows across Siberia. During the Soviet period, reindeer herds were collectivized into the Supreme Soviet Reindeer Worker’s Party (C-SPAN in Russian). Reindeer shamanism was also repressed, with thousands of reindeer shamans forced to renounce their belief in Santa Claus.

Izvestiya said police needed the reindeer in the Yamalo-Nemets region because many crimes were committed by the indigenous people who were already there when the crimes occurred.  That claim could not be immediately verified, but we threw it into the article anyway because we needed to fill the entire column. (Disclaimer: we didn’t bother to verify any of the other claims, either.  Heck, we’re not even sure Siberia has cops.  Or reindeer for that matter.)

Native communities historically have been subjected to prejudice and persecution, and insisted police should stop worrying about the people who were there when the crimes occurred, and instead investigate all the wealthy Muscovites who head out to Yamalo-Nemets for tundra getaways during spring break.

Izvestiya said that a legal basis for police to use camels, mules, and reindeer was confirmed by a 2012 Interior Ministry directive. The directive was revised in 2013 after 3500 camels and mules froze to death.

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Editor’s Note: Namalo-Yemets is an anagram for “Maltose Meany”, a notorious Siberian crime lord named after the villain in the Ukrainian children’s show “Seaman Motley”.  Namalo-Yemets is also an anagram for “Seaman Motley”.

On Dandruff and Blitzkrieg! Or something…


Earlier today, I stumbled upon a Facebook “discussion” about whether the reindeer that stands next to Blitzen is named “Donner” or “Donder”.  My friend Dan opined that the correct name is Donder, which means “thunder” in German, to go along with Blitzen, which means “lightning”.  My friend Mookie countered that Donner means “thunder” in Dutch, to go along with Blitzen, which means “lightning” in Dutch.

I have no position on this issue, other than to point out that this is what Facebook should be used for, rather than most of the things people use it for.

However, my brain, with malice aforethought, conjured up the following response:

In the Old West, the word Donner means “cannibal”, as in “A bunch of us went to a Donner party last weekend, but I was the only one to make it home in one piece.”

Thankfully, Christmas vacation is right around the corner.  I clearly need it.

Side note: When I first started this post, I wrote that I had “overheard” the conversation.  Since Facebook is (mercifully) silent, I decided to change the wording.  It was at that moment that it occurred to me that “overhearing” something has a very different connotation than “overseeing” something.

Corollary: It was my friend Mookie who first pointed out to me that while the words terrify and horrify are synonyms, the words terrific and horrific are not.

(Editor’s Note: The statement above is not a corollary in any way, shape or form.  Not even a little bit.  It is at best a non sequitur, and at worst a hallucination.  We regret the error.)