Decorah, IA - The debris-strewn streets of this remote Midwestern hamlet remain under a tense 24-hour curfew tonight, following weekend demonstrations by rock- and figurine-throwing Lutheran farm wives that left over 200 people injured and leveled the Whippy Dip dairy freeze. The rioting appeared to be prompted, in part, by a report in Newsweek magazine claiming military guards at Spirit Lake’s notorious Okoboji internment center had flushed lutefisk down prison toilets.
In the wake of the incident, American military spokespeople have taken pains to defend handling of prisoners at Okoboji. A series of new guidelines instruct guards to “respect the rituals and traditions of our valued Lutheran prison guests,” including “dietary needs, Wednesday Nite Bingo, and twice daily viewing of Wheel of Fortune.”
“It is important that we remember that Lutheranism is a religion of peace,” said Army spokesman Maj. Richard Lehrman. “And we need to remember to avoid insensitive behavior and remarks that will cause these peaceful Lutherans to go on another bloody killing rampage.”
Despite officials’ claims of intensified sensitivity, rumors have persisted of continued prisoner abuse at Okoboji, including lutefisk desecration – an especially heinous crime under Lutheran doctrine. Some analysts have viewed the rumors skeptically, pointing to the Uff Da insurgent training manual “How To Lie About Lutefisk Desecration By Infidels.” Still, dozens of news organizations continue to investigate the charges.
In its May 6 “Midwest Quagmire Wire” section, Newsweek appeared to have confirmed the lutefisk rumors. Bylined by Senior Correspondent Michael Isikoff, the magazine cited an unidentified source claiming that Okoboji guards had deliberately flushed an entire batch of the pungent cod-and-lye concoction that prisoners had been aging in a specially prepared commode. “The guard smelled it and thought it was prison burrito night,” the source was quoted as saying.
News of the desecration spread quickly from Iowa to the Dakotas to Minnesota and Wisconsin, fanned by radio soybean reports and Lutheran clerics in fiery pancake breakfast sermons. Soon, enraged farm wives, clad in their traditional sweater vests and Disney jackets, had taken to the streets and begun a wild spree of destruction, overturning hundreds of rusty Blazers and Pontiac Grand Ams and hurling flaming Lladro porcelain figurines. Decorah was particularly hard-hit, as a frenzied throng of ululating Iowa women were seen looting needlepoint geese and rabbit tchotchkes from a Victorian craft shop. In a chilling moment caught on Army night vision cameras, their plus-size leader urges the mob to attack the near-by Pamida.
“Ya, you betcha!” came the chant of her enraged coreligionist.
After battling back the women with volleys of teargas and Land’s End catalogs, a detachment of California reservists finally quelled the riot early Sunday morning, and attended to the injured.