Punxsutawney Phil faces death penalty over false ‘Spring’ claims E-mail
Opinion
Friday, 22 March 2013 09:45

By L&T Managing Editor Larry Phillips

If you read the front page story about the weather report for this weekend (today’s forecast) and the conditions for Saturday (Breezy, rain and snow in the afternoon – snow accumulation of 2 to 3 inches), it is almost identical to what meteorologists were forecasting exactly 56 years ago.
Back then on Friday, March, 22, 1957, they did say: “A snowfall approximating blizzard conditions will follow yesterday’s gentle soaking rains.”
And they did point out, “approximating blizzard conditions,” but hedged that by adding, “Up to four inches of snow is expected to fall in extreme western Kansas today and tonight.”
Well, as many of you know, area residents got blasted by the biggest storm they had seen in 25 years. It’s a storm that most people don’t believe has ever been topped since 1957.
One might be tempted to say the forecasters got it wrong that time.
People often make fun of weather forecasters. I like to say they should be put in offices that at least have a window. How many times have you heard the weather report, and the forecaster says it might rain this afternoon, only to be watching your windshield wipers slapping time to the radio?
I’ve often said, it’s the only job they won’t fire you from for being wrong half the time. Brain surgeons never get that much slack.
I’m sure we aren’t headed for a blizzard, but the north central and northeast U.S. is getting hammered by snow storms as you are reading this.
Something that caught my eye was an article by Philip Blum, writing for Reuters and posted Thursday afternoon, in where he reports some in the north are upset, and they’re going to take it out on Punxsutawney Phil. If you remember, the lovable rodent predicted that spring would come early.
The first day of Spring was Wednesday.
Blum, with tongue firmly in cheek, writes there are some in Ohio that want Punxsutawney Phil’s hide, more or less.
“Officials in Butler County, Ohio, have indicted a famous groundhog for the rash of cold winter type weather we've been having,” Blum noted. “The indictment, filed by Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Gmoser, alleges that on or about February 02, 2013, at Gobbler's Knob, Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that Spring would come early.”
Blum reported there is a link in the FOX 19 story: “There is also a link provided to the entire indictment. It goes further in its seeking ‘the death penalty’ for the ‘defendant.’ Phil's statement that winter was ending is apparently an ‘unclassified felony’ in Butler County, called ‘MISREPRESENTATION OF EARLY SPRING.’ This crime offends ‘the peace and dignity of the State Of Ohio,’ which, having lived there myself, takes some doing, despite the weather.”
Blum makes the case that Phil’s actions were not premeditated, as Phil didn’t know what he would see before Groundhog Day officials actually opened his hutch. Blum adds, “It is a well-known fact that groundhogs not only lack spoken language, there is no record whatsoever that any groundhog has ever mastered written communication.”
Blums sums it up with, “It is essential Gmoser prove premeditation given the punishment he and Butler County seek: that ‘the death penalty be implemented’ for the rodent. Happily, Phil is innocent. But whoever wrote up that proclamation and framed the poor little creature might want to watch his back.”
Now why didn’t I think of that. 
It’s all Punxsutawney Phil’s fault for all this late snowy weather. 
Why not blame Phil? Society is content with blaming everything on someone or something.

 

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