- The Washington Times - Friday, December 5, 2003

Nobles: Bear, for finding his way home after half a lifetime.

Six years is a long time to be lost — especially if you are a dog. It amounts to almost half a century in dog years — enough time to find a new home and tell all your puppies about the master you lost long ago. Bear, a lab and chow mix, disappeared from the home of Wichita, Kan., residents Frank and Jeanie Flores in November 1997, about a month after they had moved into a new home.

The Flores family searched desperately for Bear, placing ads in the paper, driving around their old neighborhood, checking in with shelters and putting up signs. Yet despite their best efforts, they still saw no sign of Bear. They finally gave him up for lost.

Then, about a week ago, Mrs. Flores saw a dog walking by that looked suspiciously like her long-lost companion. She called his name and, to her shock and delight, he responded. Bear looked little the worse for his long life on the run. He was a bit grayer, and his paws were sore and red in some spots, but he had only lost about a pound. A veterinarian who checked Bear out said that it appeared that someone had taken care of him.

The Flores family has no idea where Bear spent the last six years — they are just happy to have him back. Mrs. Flores called Bear’s return a miracle.

In some senses it was. Bear not only remembered his roots, but he displayed a delightful determination to return to them. He overcame every obstacle standing in the way of his coming home for the holidays. All holiday travelers should take his noble example to heart.

Knaves: Clayton Waagner, for attacking innocents with an arsenal of fear.

Turn the calendar back two years, to a time when the horror of September 11 was still fresh and a time when the terror of anthrax was still in the air. That was when Clayton Waagner began mailing hundreds of allegedly anthrax-laden letters to abortion clinics around the country. Although the letters actually contained a harmless white powder, clinic workers did not know they were safe until they had been tested for anthrax exposure.

This week, a federal jury convicted Waagner of 51 of the 53 charges against him, including threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction. The conviction should keep him in jail for decades — he is already serving a 49-year term for car theft and weapons violations.

After the verdict was read, Waagner told U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, “It was fun.” He plans to appeal his sentence. However, few jail terms have been better deserved. The Justice Department was right to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law, since his assaults on the defenseless were indefensible.

The appeals court judge should laugh his plea out of the chamber and leave him where the law has placed him.

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