Former NBA journeyman Lonny Baxter was arrested yesterday and now faces various charges of gun-related jackassery. Thanks to this arrest, Baxter has officially joined the growing ranks of gun-toting basketballers, such as former and current superstars Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson, Scottie Pippen, and Jose Canseco. (Okay, I know Jose Canseco didn't play basketball, but recent studies indicate that the name "Jose" increases the comedic value of any article by at least 5 percent. Who am I to argue with science?)

To some of you, this may sound kind of meaningless. We've become desensitized to the criminal mischief perpetrated by our professional athletes. But what makes Lonny's crime that extra special "If left alone I might swallow a box of rat poison" kind of stupid is the fact that he wasn't just carrying a firearm without a license. He discharged the gun. In public. From a car. In plain sight. Two blocks from the fucking White House.

How in the name of Lincoln's wart does something like this happen? I mean, we live in a country where armed guards have to take away your contact solution before they can let you on an airplane. Seriously, I saw a picture in the Chicago Sun Times that showed O'Hare security personnel confiscating a can of Easy Cheese. Easy Cheese!! There's a War Against Terror going on, people, and not even our fatty snack foods are safe. You don't have to be Stephen Hawking to understand that the Secret Service is going to get a little pissy if you start shooting off your gun in front of the President's house.

Fortunately for Lonny, this wasn't an
oops-I-killed-the-limo-driver type of situation. It appears he and a buddy were just blowing off steam in the form of random gun blasts into the air. And, apropos of a guy who finished last season shooting 37 percent from the field, he apparently didn't hit anything. The only excuse I would accept is that they were waging a secret war against an unknown alien menace. And if that's the case, and Lonny somehow averted some kind of UFO apocalypse, then please accept this sentence as a formal apology.

Lonny and friend
Lonny with an unnamed (and possibly retarded) man. Could he
be the second gunman? This answer may shock you: I don't care.

Runner-up: Ron Artest told a bunch of kids it's okay to start a riot as long as, you know, somebody provokes you. Artest, having been sentenced to do community service for his part in the Brawl At Auburn Hills, was performing that service by speaking to a group of 50 children at a panel on black empowerment in Detroit. While discussing the riot that destroyed the Pacers franchise and made NBA players look like a group of freaks and hoodlums, Artest said: "Someone started trouble and I ended it." He then brutally attacked a six year-old who threw a spitball at him, thereby ending another troublesome situation someone else started.

To be honest, I'm not sure who most deserves this runner-up award: Artest or the rocket scientist who decided to have one of the craziest bastards in professional sports speak to and advise a group of impressionable schoolchildren. Great idea, dude. What's next? Traffic school with Randy Moss? Marriage counseling with O.J. Simpson? Firearm maintenance with Lonny Baxter? Oh, the humanity.
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