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Samurai sword-wielding Mormon bishop pharmaceutical statistician stops mugger

Brett Keller points us to this feel-good story of the day:

A Samurai sword-wielding Mormon bishop helped a neighbor woman escape a Tuesday morning attack by a man who had been stalking her.

Kent Hendrix woke up Tuesday to his teenage son pounding on his bedroom door and telling him somebody was being mugged in front of their house. The 47-year-old father of six rushed out the door and grabbed the weapon closest to him — a 29-inch high carbon steel Samurai sword. . . .

Hendrix, a pharmaceutical statistician, was one of several neighbors who came to the woman’s aid after she began yelling for help . . .

Too bad the whole “statistician” thing got buried in the middle of the article. Fair enough, though: I don’t know what it takes to become a Mormon bishop, but I assume it’s more effort than what it takes to learn statistics.


  1. John says:

    Truth is stranger than fiction.

  2. John Mashey says:

    Samurai Statistician!

    Maybe that could be a TV series, although To Throw Away Data: Plagiarism as a Statistical Crime has academic samurai qualities.

    On the other hand, this could get out of hand, as seen ijn San Jose: Naked man with sword and assault rifle arrested.

  3. Mayo says:

    “Too bad the whole “statistician” thing got buried in the middle of the article.”
    Why? Do you think a little extra credit ought to go to statistics because of this? More relevant: he had a black belt in martial arts.

    • Andrew says:


      I was just being silly. I don’t really think the statistician bit is relevant.

      • Entsophy says:

        On a related note I had hide my five masters degrees from my Marines (one of which is in statistics). Especially when I was going to deploy with them. I usually told them I had a Bachelor in Physical Education and they always believed it.

        Maybe I was overreacting, but I had the definite impression that if they’d known what I did before the Marines, they would have been so worried that I’d get them killed through shear eggheadedness that they would have taken me out of action well before entering a combat zone. Unfortunately I didn’t have this guy to point to in order to say “see Statisticians can bring a hefty dose of Truth, Justice, and the American Way to the misbegotten was well as anyone!”

        • Rahul says:

          What’s a good conclusion: Marines are prejudiced and carry undeserved stereotypes of university education?

          (You didn’t get anyone killed by eggheadedness, I hope? )

          • Entsophy says:

            Not by eggheadedness no.

            Marines don’t deal in stereotypes, they only care about what you’ve proven you can do. In fact, they have a pretty unique view of how inequality enters human relations. They believe everyone is born equal, but then some become Marines.

            If you’d like to be lead by an absent minded professor type in combat, be my quest. Count me out though.

            • K? O'Rourke says:

              > absent minded professor type in combat

              Good point, in a different context being a statistician saved me from being arrested in my sword incident.

              Someone had left full green garbage bags in front of my home late at night. My call to the police resulted in
              a “maybe if a squad car is not busy around 3 in the morning, they will drop by to check”.
              My wife was not going to sleep until it was known what was in the bags and just hearing about how hard it is to
              avoid sharps injuries when treating AIDs patients (late 1980s). I was not going to open the bags with my hands.

              But I had a sword and so used that to find out they just had renovations debris in them.
              Soon afterwards, three squad cars arrived with very nervous police officers looking for the mad sword wielder loose in the neighborhood!

              It took a while for them to calm down but my explanation about being a statistician in clinical research seemed credible to them (including not think what my neighbors would have thought) and they left.

              The next spring when I noticed what looked like human bones becoming exposed in a hillside nearby I called the same station and when escorting a police officer to the location to investigate, I mentioned the sword incident.
              He said they all heard about it at the station and had a good laugh. That is until someone found human remains discarded in green garbage bags in front of a home a few blocks away.

              The coroner concluded that the bones were from a teenage girl but likely deceased in the late 1800,s whose grave had been disturbed by construction in the area.

              • Entsophy says:

                That’s crazy about the bones. A construction project on an old Air Base near Fallujah uncovered a mass grave (this was around 2004) which I had to get a little involved in. The discovery lead to a big investigation, but it turned out to be the results of Saddam’s purges of his Air Force right after the first gulf war. They lined them up and killed them over a pit holocaust style.

                This was in a Sunni area which was Saddam’s base of support. Maybe they were Shia Air Force Officers or something. These sorts of discoveries were a lot more common than most people realize. And it seems like construction projects are the usual mode of discovery.

            • Rahul says:

              “absent minded professor”

              There you go: another stereotype.

              • Entsophy says:

                Actually, it’s an “archetype” ( and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using it. It would be almost impossible to communicate in practice without using such devices.

                For example, someone might say “I’m wary of an alcoholic driving my kid’s school bus”. While you might think this is some kind of “prejudiced thought crime” which has to be stamped out, the rest of us consider it merely “successful communication” and don’t get our panties in a twist over it.

  4. George says:

    He most certainly had enough statistical power.

  5. ankle says:

    For whatever it’s worth, Mormons have a lay leadership. That is, in contrast to ministers of many other faiths, Mormon bishops aren’t paid for their service, and aren’t specifically trained for it. They don’t go to seminary or theological college. They’re asked to serve as bishop by regional leaders (who themselves are asked to serve, also as volunteers), and generally serve for a period of about five years. In other words, it doesn’t take much effort to become a bishop. It definitely takes a fair bit of time and effort to serve as one, though.

  6. Wesley says:

    Personally I find it more interesting that a biostatistician pulled a sword on a mugger than the irrelevant point that he is a Mormon bishop. Incidentally, neither has anything to do with the cool fact that some guy pulled a samurai sword and stopped a mugging.

  7. Chris P says:

    And his wife is a statistician. They are former co-workers of mine and this story does not seem out of character for him. I think the original source came from an LDS Church owned TV station that authored the (favorable to the Church) headline.

  8. Eric Rasmusen says:

    He knows what techniques to use, too— in this case, the Jackknife wasn’t quite up to the job.

  9. David says:

    Good thing he is good enough in a lot of things. That woman is surely thankful that the Mormon bishop is not only a statistician but also capable of wielding samurai swords. Great talent.

  10. Nietzsche says:

    Keep in mind the importance of “the Sword of Laban” in the Book of Mormon, as well the controversy surrounding the presupposed science of metallurgy:
    Book of Nephi (5:14) “And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords…”

  11. spooky says:

    As a note, the LDS church has a lay priesthood composed of all male members above the age of twelve, so it is actually not that unusual for a male Mormon to become a bishop (it’s equivalent of being the local church’s minister).