- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

Noble: Dr. James Richards, the renowned cat expert who died in a motorcycle accident avoiding … a cat.

Donald Smith, dean of Cornell University’s veterinary school, said of Dr. Richards : “He was the most competent feline expert, perhaps in the country, but even more than that he was just a wonderful, caring person.” In an ironic chain of events, Dr. Richards, a motorcycle enthusiast, was thrown from his bike on Sunday when he swerved to avoid a cat in the road. He died Tuesday at age 58.

Dr. Richards attended veterinary school at Ohio State University and was the director of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s Feline Health Center. A former president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, he had written many books on cats and cat care.

As much as we like cats, we value human life more. Nonetheless, we find Dr. Richard’s dedication to his feline friends admirable. It is quite fitting for a man to die protecting something he loves. So, for saving the life of a cat, Dr. James Richards is the Noble of the week.

Knave: Byron Perkins of Kentucky, who used his son’s critical medical condition to escape from jail.

Perkins’ rapsheet includes marijuana distribution, unlawful transport of firearms and bank robbery. But the worst of his malefactions has got to be escaping federal custody under the guise of donating a kidney to his ailing son. While awaiting sentencing in January 2006, Perkins was released from jail for medical testing before undergoing the transplant. Instead, he skipped town with his girlfriend and the pair have been on the lam ever since. They were arrested Wednesday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Luckily, Destin, Perkins’ 17-year-old son, received a kidney in August and is on the mend. His relationship with his father, however, may never be repaired. Destin told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “I don’t know how he could lay his head down at night, just knowing that he ran away and left me up here to die like that.” We couldn’t agree more.

For using his son to further his criminal behavior, Byron Perkins is the Knave of the week.

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