Man preps for big night; thins air in house

[Images: The “Colorado Mountain Room” and other products offered by Colorado Altitude Training].

According to Sports Illustrated, Gilbert Arenas of the NBA has “hired a company to reduce the oxygen content in his house.” This way he can “train under high-altitude conditions similar to those in Colorado.”
Interviewed by a blog at the Washington Post, Arenas then claimed “that ‘at least 14 players’ have contacted him about having the same simulated conditions” installed; this includes “the whole Chicago Bulls team,” who now want “to get that in their homes.”
But ESPN’s headline says it best: “Arenas sorry for Team USA vent; thins air in house.”
So what I want to know is: if you do this to someone’s house without them knowing, is that illegal – and what would such a crime be called?

(Thanks, Dad! See also Hyperoxic architecture).

18 thoughts on “Man preps for big night; thins air in house”

  1. airson? respiratory assault? breathing and entry?

    or more likely, they break down the doors of both the perpetrator and victim at about 5am on a Sunday morning and charge them with violation of the Oxygen Copyright Act…

    the difference between this and steroids?

  2. I like Vulva’s response. Possible charges and claims might include:


    Breaking and Entering/Burglary (with theft of oxygen and or battery (see below) being the wrong committed)

    Battery (under the theory that the removal of oxygen somehow causes an unconsented contact (with deoxygenated air?) with the inhabitant, or a form of trespass to the person)

    Reckless Endangerment

    The defendant would probably be referred to in the press as an Oxygen Bandit.

  3. If “theft of oxygen” is a crime, and if a relative I don’t like comes to visit me… then could I have them arrested the instant they enter my apartment?

    Meanwhile, what about something like “unauthorized technical alteration to an existing architectural structure”? Or is that just vandalism? Can you vandalize something by removing its oxygen or technically upgrading it? Or would that be grand larceny?

  4. Yes. Make a citizen’s arrest on the relative.

    Yes, pimping someone’s apartment as a surprise would be vandalism.

    It might be larceny (though not “grand” — that involves the value of the item stolen) if you took the oxygen, put it all in a canister, and hid it in a closet in the victim’s apartment.

  5. … if you took the oxygen, put it all in a canister, and hid it in a closet in the victim’s apartment.

    To your knowledge, by the way, is there a legal precedent for this?

  6. So long as you had the intent to permanently deprive the “owner” of the oxygen, this would appear to fit the tests for larceny:

    “The elements of theft by larceny are well settled: the offense is committed by every person who (1) takes possession (2) of personal property (3) owned or possessed by another, (4) by means of trespass and (5) with intent to steal the property, and (6) carries the property away. (See, e.g., People v. Earle (1963) 222 Cal.App.2d 476, 477-478; People v. Edwards (1925) 72 Cal.App. 102, 112-116; CALJIC No. 14.02; Perkins & Boyce, Criminal Law (3d ed. 1982) pp. 292-335 (hereafter Perkins).) The act of taking personal property from the possession of another is always a trespass2 unless the owner consents to the taking freely and unconditionally3 or the taker has a legal right to take the property. (Perkins, supra, at pp. 303-304.) The intent to steal or animus furandi is the intent, without a good faith claim of right, to permanently deprive the owner of possession. (Id. at pp. 326-327.) And if the taking has begun, the slightest movement of the property constitutes a carrying away or asportation. (Id. at pp. 323-325.)

    Applying these rules to the facts of the case at bar, we have no doubt that defendant (1) took possession (2) of personal property—the shirt—(3) owned by Mervyn’s and (4) moved it sufficiently to satisfy the asportation requirement. Defendant does not contend otherwise.”

    From People v. Davis (Cal. 1998)

  7. How exactly does that “cross the streams”…?

    Speaking of Ghostbusters, though, you could perhaps write a new, legalistic history of cinema in which films like Ghostbusters are reconsidered from the point of view of possible lawsuits between the major characters. When the Sumerian demon, or whatever she was, shows up at the end of Ghostbusters on the top of the building, uninvited… they could sue her.

    Then they wouldn’t need to cross the streams.

  8. In Eco’s newish book Baudolino, there’s a vacuum chamber in someone’s castle that’s rumored to be capable of killing people in their sleep by robbing them of oxygen… but there’s still philosophical debate over whether or not vacuums exist or can be made to exist…

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