Beaten down by months of snow, wind and cold, an Ohio county has issued an “indictment” against Punxsutawney Phil over his Groundhog Day prediction.
Phil did not see his shadow February 2, signaling spring’s imminent arrival.
Six days later, Winter Storm Nemo dumped 30 inches of snow on New England. Six weeks later, temperatures across the Northern U.S. remain frigid.
Birds chirping? Flowers blooming? No sign of those anywhere.
As a result, (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek Butler County, Oh., prosecutors are demanding justice, claiming Phil deliberately misled the American people.
They say such a felony should be punished by death.
Butler County’s chief prosecutor filed an official brief about this, lambasting the rodent for actions “against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio.”
“Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early,” wrote Mike Gmoser.
He vowed to bring the Pennsylvania icon to justice in the neighboring Buckeye State, but Phil’s handlers are having none of it, coming to his defense.
Bill Deeley, president of the club that organizes Groundhog Day, said Phil has a lawyer and would fight attempted extradition by the Ohio authorities.
“We’ll have to plead our case one way or the other, but I think we can beat the rap,” Deeley said, taking Butler County’s indictment more or less in stride.
Criminally negligent or not, Phil really dropped the ball in 2013.
This winter was pretty harsh, at least by recent standards, and grew worse if anything following Phil’s prognostication that spring would come early.
Case in point: There’s another storm due on Sunday/Monday that could bring several additional inches of snow across the Midwest and Northeast.
The first day of Spring was Thursday, March 21.