Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Trail Rapist," First Snowfall, and Christmas Decorations

Wednesday, December 2, 2009. We had a light snowfall today. Not enough to reach past the top of mowed grass, but I'm pretty sure we'll have more as the winter goes on.

Before getting on with the mostly-Christmas-related stuff, something more serious. One of the front page headlines in last week's Sauk Centre Herald read, "Trail rapist gets 12-year sentence". And, the results of an "On-Line Poll." The question was "What do you think of Ajqui's sentence?"

Of 110 responding,
  • 86% considered the sentence too short
  • 14% saw it as fair
  • 0% indicated it was too long
That surprised me a bit: both the overwhelming number who thought it was too short, and nobody marking off "too long." The rapist is, after all, a relatively young man: and will be in his mid-thirties by the time he gets out. And, quite possibly, deported. But then, he raped a
14-year-old girl: and that's just plain not nice.

I had no idea how the court came up with that "12 year" figure. Which seems to me to be a bit, ah, compassionate: considering the probable effect that the rape will have on the life of his young victim. But then, when it comes to interpersonal relationships, I tend to have a bit more
sympathy with people who don't hurt others, than those who do.

I did a little checking, and found an interesting resource online:

Minnesota House of Representatives
Research Department
600 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
REVISED: September 2004

Mandatory Sentencing Laws

That link sends you to an 18-page pdf-format document on the State of Minnesota House of Representatives' website. I still don't know where the court came up with 12 years.

Well, I wasn't the judge: and all the facts didn't, I'm sure, get into the news. It's some consolation that there's a chance that the rapist will be restrained from wreaking havoc on the life of another teenage girl for a dozen years. Who knows? He may decide it was a bad idea, and not rape again. Stranger things have happened.

I've written about the 'Lake Wobegon Trail Rape' before:Moving along to more pleasant topics.

We've had a suggestion of snow before, but I think today's precipitation could count as the "first snow of winter." Mainly, since it's stayed around for a few hours. As I wrote before, it wasn't quite deep enough to top out the grass on neatly-mowed lawns. Sidewalks and side streets, though, were (nearly) covered.

First snow of winter? Okay, I'll say that's what it is. November 5, 2009.

Most businesses have some token of the holiday season up: and a few make sure that everybody who sees their place knows that Christmas is coming. Like P's and Q's, on south Main:

Candy canes, Santas, a whacking great snow globe, and: a penguin?! November 30, 2009.

There are all sorts of household displays, too. One of my favorites is on the south side, about a block off The Original Main Street. It's small, and simple: which is part of its charm. And, it's been up each season for years.

Simple, gets the point across: I like it. November 30, 2009.

Some households break out of the familiar decorative themes.

These may be the three biggest Christmas lights in town. December 2, 2009.

And, of course, there are a lot of ways to do a crèche display.

A very simple-looking manger scene. I plan to be back, after nightfall, when the lights are on. December 2, 2009.

Now, I'd better get some Christmas shopping done: that I said I'd take care of, last week.

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