The Dog Barf Punishment

I sort of anticipated it.

When you’ve worked a full day and then decided, just for the hell of it, to go out for a beer with your colleagues after work — for the first time in years, mind you — you should expect that the Fates will discipline you.  So as I returned home, still savoring that most enjoyable after-work libation and chat with JV and the Unkempt Guy, knowing that two starving dogs would be waiting at the front door barking their famished heads off, I was wary.

IMG_2426But, dog barf?  A pool of dog barf on the family room carpet?  I guess I expected to suffer for my small transgression from accepted forms of responsible adult behavior, but isn’t dog barf a bit . . . harsh?  Does having a beer after work really merit finding yourself on your hands and knees on the family room carpet, hosing down the vile puddle with “spot clean avenger” and trying to mop it up with a rag before it leaves a permanent stain?

And, did you ever think about the sheer wonder of dog vomit?  After all, our dogs will eat, lick, smell, or otherwise consume the most appalling and foully odiferous objects, smears, and substances.  Our two dogs have the most cast-iron digestive systems imaginable.  What could be so repulsive that it would cause them to hurl?  My God, what could they possibly have eaten while I was gone?

So now I walk gingerly around the house, wondering whether Penny tried to chew the upholstery on the chair in the study or Kasey gnawed the knob off one of the kitchen cabinets and whether there is an even more disgusting surprise lurking somewhere in the house.

Still, the after-dinner beer was worth it.

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Crime . . . And “Punishment”

Anders Breivik killed 77 people, many of them kids, in carefully planned attacks on government buildings and a youth camp in Norway.  Today he was determined to be sane, was found guilty of the mass murder — deemed “terrorist acts” under Norwegian law — and received the maximum sentence of 21 years in prison.

A man who kills 77 people is found to be legally sane?  Sentenced to a mere 21 years in prison, as the maximum available penalty for the cold-blooded killing of dozens of people?  And, according to the news article linked above, the “guilty verdict comes as welcome relief to victims and their families, who have been looking for closure 13 months after the tragic event”?

It is unimaginable that a disturbed mass murderer like Breivik, who is only 33 years old, could be walking the streets, a free man, in only two decades.  What better indication could there be of the differences between the United States and Norway — their people, their criminal justice systems, and their concepts of just punishment — than this absurdly lenient sentence?

Many Americans applaud the European social model and decry the harshness of punishments meted out by American courts.  Does anyone, however, seriously defend this grossly inadequate penalty and the notion that 21 years in prison is sufficient punishment for an unrepentant fanatic who gunned down 77 innocent people and now plans to write books about his attacks and his crazed political views?