- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2006

Nobles: Steve Irwin, who leaves behind a wife, two children and millions of adoring fans.

There’s no other way to describe the late Mr. Irwin than to say that he was larger than life — and probably a bit crazy. Only someone with a screw as loose as Mr. Irwin’s would even consider filming a show titled “Ten Deadliest Snakes,” and proceed to handle each of the world’s 10 deadliest snakes. Combined with Mr. Irwin’s vibrant personality, it made for great television.

But as many have already pointed out since Mr. Irwin’s death earlier this week, the man known as the Crocodile Hunter was nothing of the sort. He never hunted or killed the animals he showcased in such disturbing, yet compelling, intimacy — sometimes too much intimacy, as when he dangled his newborn before a very toothy crocodile.

He was in fact a passionate conservationist who had turned his family’s reptile farm into a wildlife sanctuary and headed his own conservation foundation called “Wildlife Warriors Worldwide.” He discovered a new species of turtle, Elseya irwini, which bears his name. Part of his life’s message was to respect the animal kingdom and that when you enter it, you’re the visitor, even if you’re the Crocodile Hunter.

With his passing, the world has lost a truly unique Noble.

Knaves: The perpetrators behind the Washington-area illegal-alien marriage scam.

Federal authorities arrested over 20 Washington-area residents this week for having taken bribes to marry illegal aliens looking to avoid deportation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office handling the investigation said three of those arrested are U.S. citizens who accepted as much as $500 on their “marriage day” and $300 each month from their new spouse. The feds think the operation was run by a group who set up the fake marriages by matching willing U.S. citizens to potential “spouses” and coaching them through the ceremony.

To say that this scam desecrates the institution of marriage would be a gross understatement. Prosecutors say the three-year investigation has uncovered at least 500 sham marriages arranged in this way, but estimates place the number at as many as 1,000. It’s all the more regrettable that the secularization of marriage in American culture has allowed so many to see no qualms about exploiting what is a solemn commitment between a man and a woman. When marriage becomes nothing more than a union of convenience — as these “marriages” epitomize — then it’s hard to counter those who would make a mockery of it.

For contributing to the degeneration of the culture, the marriage scammers are the Knaves of the week.

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