The word "ratchet" may be played out, but until the Internet agrees upon a more accurate description for these crimes, it will have to do. These stories are sad, imaginative, and they inspire us to have conversations about race, class, and the American dream.
This week's roundup includes a high elf, rat poison, and a crap load of drunk people. Each crime is rated on our Ratchet Meter, a base-10 logarithmic scale modeled after a similar system developed by Charles Richter—except that the Ratchet Meter has nothing to do with science because it's not actually a real thing.
Read on for the best of the worst ratchet crimes in America. Proceed with caution, stay safe, don't try this at home, and send your tips to email@example.com.