I try to be slow to condemn the bone-headed statements of others, because I know I often need some grace in that regard myself.
But some people, in some situations, make it harder than it should be.
Take, for example, what an unnamed North Carolina assistant district attorney in Graham County suggested in a plea deal regarding a noise ordinance violation for a barking dog.
Michael Eddings told WLOS that his Great Pyrenees, Leo, has cost him more than $750 in citations and attorney fees because of his loud barking.
Nonetheless, he was shocked by what the assistant DA offered to resolve the case at a court hearing on May 31.
“He said that if you have the vocal cords removed surgically, they would drop all charges,” Eddings said.
WLOS didn’t name the assistant DA, and I can’t say as I blame them.
“It’s crazy,” Eddings said of the offer. “It is inhumane.”
Graham County District Attorney Ashley Welch didn’t name the assistant DA in her short statement to WLOS, either, but she seemed to agree with Eddings’ characterization of it.
“I have confirmed that an assistant district attorney in my district suggested, as a possible solution to violations of a town’s noise ordinance, that a dog’s vocal cords be surgically altered,” she said. “Whether offered in jest or seriousness, the suggestion was inappropriate.
“I am unable to offer additional comment as this is now a personnel matter,” she added.
That implies two things: That the assistant DA tried to brush off the comment as a joke, and that the individual might be considering different career choices in the near future.
The latter implication was confirmed by WLOS in a follow-up story a few days later.
“An assistant district attorney who suggested a dog’s vocal cords be surgically removed is no longer employed with the North Carolina office,” the outlet reported.
Was the ADA fired? Probably. Was termination justified? I already said that I’m trying not to be the guy who throws the first stone, so I’ll let you be the judge of that.
I will, however, say this: This anonymous assistant DA would have done well to remember what Jesus said about careless words.
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
I need to be reminded of those verses at least once a day.
Twice, if I plan to spend any time on Twitter.
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