I’ve been sharing some weird facts with you these last two weeks. You never know when you need this information to score big on a trivia contest. Here are the last three semi-useful facts and maybe the best ones!
Weird fact No. 1 – In 1921, a group of white people burned the wealthy black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as “Black Wall Street.” Firebombs were dropped from airplanes and more than 800 were killed. Others were admitted to white hospitals because the black hospitals were burned down (really!). An estimated 10,000 were left homeless. Apparently, just hate for another human being fueled the event. This massacre was not acknowledged in the state history records until 1996.
Those involved and their ancestors must have felt such shame over the event, so there was no talk of it. As the years went by, many blacks and whites grew up unaware of what had taken place. With the number of survivors declining, in 1996, the state legislature commissioned a report to establish the historical record of the events, and acknowledge the victims and damages to the black community. The state passed legislation to establish scholarships for descendants of survivors, economic development of the area, and a memorial park to the victims in Tulsa.
Thank heavens the world has changed!
Weird fact No. 2 – A tick bite can cause a lifelong allergy to red meat. The Lone Star tick (named after Texas where it was first found) injects a type of sugar (alpha-gel) the body doesn’t normally have, also found in red meat, into the blood and causes antibodies to be made that produce an allergic reaction when a person ingests red meat. Additionally, some poultry and dairy products contain this sugar.
I guess that bug could turn you into a vegetarian, or at least make you swear off red meat. Doctors across the nation are seeing a surge of sudden meat allergies in people bitten by that tick. This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread from the Southwest to Eastern parts of the United States. In some cases, eating a burger or a steak has landed people in the hospital with severe allergic reactions.
As one allergist who has seen 200 cases on New York’s Long Island said, “Why would someone think they’re allergic to meat when they’ve been eating it their whole life?” Be aware, researchers think some other types of ticks also might cause meat allergies.
Weird fact No. 3 – An officer of the California Highway Patrol, Sgt. Kevin Briggs, has stopped more than 200 people from committing suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Dropping from the bridge at an average height of 220 feet almost always ends in a painful death (although a few people have survived). During his career, Briggs estimates he dissuaded people from ending their life on the Golden Gate Bridge about twice a month, and had done so since 1994, the year he started patrolling the bridge. Responding to crisis calls, he intervened using compassion, a gentle voice, eye contact, respect for the person, and his innate ability of “listening to understand” to discourage jumping, with only two people deciding to jump after he interceded.
According to Briggs, when he first began working on the bridge he was not made aware of its dark side, nor did he have any training in suicide prevention or crisis management. After being trained, his success is undeniable! He has been honored many times by organizations in the state of California for his service.
It turns out, Briggs also suffers from depression, but has turned this into even better understanding and help for those on the bridge.
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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