My good friend and faithful reader, let’s just call her “Suzi Johnson,” texted me, “I am just flummoxed that ...” It’s irrelevant what we were discussing, but just to lend a hint: it concerned a televised account of a case known as “The Barbie and Ken Killers.” We were putting our pathetic justice system on trial.

My first thought was, “Flummoxed? Now she’s just making up words to impress a renowned columnist.” I stand corrected. Webster describes flummoxed thusly: “Completely unable to understand. Confused and perplexed.” I humbly give “Suzi”her due; she’s often confused, if not perplexed. In a word, she’s frequently flummoxed, and who can blame her?

Now that I mention it, the justice system suddenly seems relevant. It’s no secret I’m a staunch – bordering on militant – proponent of the death penalty. These Barbie and Ken killers – named so for their incongruous good looks, kidnapped, tortured and eventually murdered three young girls, one of whom was “Barbie’s” little sister, gifted to Ken as a token of her love and loyalty.

For turning state’s evidence against Paul Bernardo, heartless Karla Homolka received 12 years, eligible for parole after three. And that’s what my friend was flummoxed about. We’re both therapy-resistant addicts to the siren song of real-life crime documentaries, and that’s not to say we share a mutual love of gratuitous violence. We are, however, darn near flummoxed by the human capacity for such demonic deeds.

Typically, neither of these sadists who actually filmed the torture for later stimulation showed any trace of remorse. How could they; they sold their souls long ago. The anti-death penalty argument is often, “It’s worse punishment to sit in a cell the rest of their lives and think about what they’ve done.” Yeah, right! Had Hitler only had that chance for reflection.

Reality confirms “Ken” will be besieged with love letters from serial killer groupies, vowing undying love and devotion. He may even marry his favorite, as often happens. The intoxicating celebrity status may cause Barbie, long ago released and subsequently giving birth to three daughters, to rue the missed opportunity.

But I sense I’m becoming inadvertently angry, while this is supposed to be a light-hearted, whimsical column. I mean to uplift the reader, not agitate and stir the worms.

Funny story … 12 years ago, Mike Fink talked me into a guy’s road trip to Laramie to watch the Cowboys homecoming game. I don’t travel well, but “Soup,” as I nicknamed him many moons ago, dangled several motivational carrots. It was me, Soup, Lincoln Reese, and nephews Jay and Rusty. We weren’t even out of Cody city limits when during a spirited discussion, Rusty says, “As usual, Doug loves to stir the worms.”

I jumped on that like a puppy on a grasshopper. “Are you sure you’re not confusing analogies, son? One can stir the pot or open a can of worms, but I’m not sure anyone feels a compulsion to actually stir worms.” I got the sick, defeated look I was going for, and that entire trip was dominated by similarly  demeaning, evenly distributed barbs among all.

So what was my point anyways? Does anyone remember?

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