Year in Review: The 2013 Hall of Shame, part one

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The 51st State Initiative logo
Every year, we bring you the best examples of the worst behavior we can find from the past 365 days of news stories. And from secessionists to bigoted bakers to Tom Martino and Mother Nature, there was plenty of shame and shmuckery to go around in the 2013 Hall of Shame.

We selected the ten most egregious offenders of common decency for your reading pleasure; here are the first five. (Be sure to check back tomorrow for the rest.)

Secessionists
Colorado became a microcosm for the nation in 2013 when the red-state-blue-state phenomenon turned into a red-county-blue-county movement. Weld County, Colorado's ninth largest by population, led the charge when the commissioners there -- tired of their liberal, same-sex-marrying, pot-smoking, renewable-energy-loving, anti-mass-murder neighbors to the south -- floated a plan to leave Colorado and form their own state of North Colorado, or Weldistan, as it was popularly known; ten other counties followed suit. (One wanted to join Wyoming.) "The people of rural Colorado are mad, and they have every right to be," U.S. Representative Cory Gardner told the Denver Post. "The governor and his Democrat colleagues in the Statehouse have assaulted our way of life, and I don't blame these people one bit for feeling attacked and unrepresented by the leaders of our state." Assaulted and attacked -- you know, like when leaders of the state helped Weld residents recover from devastating floods this fall, worked to control a massive whooping-cough outbreak there and processed Weld County residents' precious concealed-weapons permits (the county has issued 10,000 over the past ten years). Fortunately ----or unfortunately, depending on your point of view -- Weldistanians voted to stay a part of Colorado, although several other counties have elected to keep investigating ways to secede. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

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Sam Carter

Sam Carter and Brent Curnow
Maybe it was quicker than heading down to the grocery store for some beef patties, or maybe Boulder police officers Sam Carter and Brent Curnow are just jerks. Either way, both men resigned from their jobs last year and were charged with several crimes after it was revealed that they had been involved in the killing of a massive bull elk at the corner of Ninth Street and Mapleton Avenue in Boulder and then tried to cover up their actions. The case began on New Year's Day, when it was reported that an officer, later identified as Carter, was on a routine patrol when he saw an elk that appeared to be injured and decided to shoot it for humane reasons. Curnow, who was off duty, then hauled the elk away and processed it for meat. It was later revealed, however, that the two men had been planning to kill the elk for hours -- and never reported the incident to their supervisors. A necropsy also showed that the trophy elk, which was apparently beloved in the neighborhood where it was killed, wasn't injured before the shooting. Elkgate, as it was called, provoked a huge amount of controversy and inspired memorials, major media attention and a Facebook page. Curnow eventually pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, a felony, and four misdemeanors before being sentenced to sixty days of home detention, a $10,000 fine and two years of probation. Carter, who is accused of the shooting itself, will go on trial in January; he faces charges of felony tampering, forgery and misconduct, among others, including violating Samson's Law, an anti-poaching measure.

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2 comments
James Gold
James Gold

It's good to see the pigs on there. A deserved public shaming.

Jennifer Hoskens
Jennifer Hoskens

Weld county paid for their own road repairs post flood, and process their own CCW permits...

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