- The Washington Times - Friday, September 10, 2004

Knaves: Jerry Allen Bradford, for finding a heinous solution to seven little problems. (In a slight departure from protocol, the Knave of the week is named before the Noble, for reasons that will be clear momentarily.)

Floridians have had a tough few weeks. Dealing with back-to-back hurricanes can try even the stoutest of Americans, since certain unconventional solutions to extraordinary problems are, in times like these, appropriate. Nevertheless, when faced with a problem none too extraordinary, Mr. Bradford apparently didn’t even attempt to exhaust all conventional options.

On Wednesday, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office charged Mr. Bradford with felony animal cruelty for shooting his 3-month-old shepherd mix puppies with a .38-caliber revolver. According to the Associated Press, Mr. Bradford couldn’t find a home for his litter, and believed shooting each one with a bullet in the head was the only option.

Mr. Bradford, fortunately, managed to kill only three of them, whose shallow little graves were found in the gunman’s backyard. The other four miraculously survived, unharmed. Mr. Bradford himself is recovering at a hospital for a gunshot wound in his wrist.

For cold-hearted cruelty, Mr. Bradford is the Knave of the week.

Nobles: One of Mr. Bradford’s 3-month-old shepherd mix puppies, for coming to the rescue of his (or her) three surviving siblings.

Think of the many historical parallels — David vs. Goliath, the Athenian fleet at Salamis, American troops at Valley Forge, the 101st Airborne at Bastogne — when the odds of survival were so grim, the situation so desperate, that hope itself seemed a fool’s fantasy — and yet hope prevailed. To that illustrious list, add the unnamed puppy of Mr. Bradford, who, in a last test of will, wriggled free of his or her owner’s grip and managed to fire the .38-caliber revolver Mr. Bradford was holding.

The bullet punctured Mr. Bradford’s wrist, freeing the valiant puppy and one of his or her siblings. Unable to finish his crime, Mr. Bradford called for an ambulance. The four surviving puppies were taken by Escambia County Animal Control, which plans to make them available for adoption.

For reminding all that in seemingly hopeless moments miracles do happen, one of Mr. Bradford’s puppies is the Noble of the week.

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