On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was visiting a high school in Brisbane when someone threw a sandwich at her.
And then, for a second, the world stopped.
School authorities soon zeroed in on a suspect: 16-year-old Kyle Thomson, who was indeed present in the crowd of nervous, puberty-ridden Australians thronging the Prime Minister at the instant the wall between man and sandwich hurling beast dissolved.
Within hours, he’d been suspended from school for three weeks. But Thomson claims it's all a set-up.
You can watch video of the attempted assassination by sandwich here. The sandwich in question (embarrassingly) misses Gillard by a mile which could explain why the perpetrator, Thomson or otherwise, is reluctant to reveal himself.
(Because this story takes place in Australia, the sandwich was made with Vegemite.)
Thomson maintains that not only did he not throw the sandwich—he actually prevented another one from being lobbed by knocking it out of the real sandwich thrower's hand. (As a Brisbane Times reporter put it in what will probably be the most embarrassing interview of his career: “You in effect saved the prime minister from not one but two sandwiches yesterday.")
Gillard, who can laugh because she’s not the one suspended for fifteen days on account of a sandwich she threw or possibly didn’t throw, declined to petition in the teen's favor, advising him to “have a chat with the school principal,” if he hoped to change his sentence.
‘‘His name is Alan Jones if you can believe it,” added Gillard of the principal, which…I guess is some sort of Australian reference that we Americans just don’t get. (His name is Paul Bunyan, if you can believe it. His name is Thefourthof July, if you can believe it.) Then again, at this point in the story, everything about it is so shocking—sandwich hero? sandwich zero?—that frankly I can’t believe his name is Alan Jones. Alan Jones? Can’t believe it.
The mother of the sandwich martyr/sandwich-wielding Gavrilo Princip, Anna Thomson, admitted that young Kyle “is no angel, don’t get me wrong,” but said she suspects “there is a lot more to the circumstances” surrounding what is shaping up to be Australia’s most sinister and convoluted criminal mystery in decades.
‘‘I mean I’m sure she’s had more than a sandwich thrown at her throughout her life.’’
For his part, Kyle seems not to have let the incident dampen his fervent nationalism, observing to the Brisbane Times that the Prime Minister is "small," "famous," and "doesn't have a big nose like everyone's saying."
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