So Iíve spent a couple of long sessions in Flathead County Court recently.
I know this because my butt is still a little sore. If youíre a 50-something year-old man like I am, you know my complaint ó those benches are not meant to be comfortable. In fact, they make the average church pew feel downright cozy.
The court benches press on a manís body parts that arenít meant to be pressed on for hours on end.
But I digress. If anyone is interested in the state of the human condition, I strongly suggest you spend three hours on a court bench during sentencing day.
Some of the stories that come out of the proceeding are funny. Others are tragic and unbelievable.
For example, I recently listened in on a case where an alcoholic showed up to his meeting with his probation officer and he blew (and I am not making this up) a .4 blood alcohol level in the Breathalyzer.
Legally intoxicated is .08, for what itís worth.
How he even managed to walk into the building is beyond me.
But he told the court he was getting help and by all accounts he was, which is shorthand for heís in rehab for 30 days and will be back out on the streets soon after that.
The system really doesnít have any real answers for alcoholics and drug addicts.
Sure, thereís treatment, but thatís pretty much up to the individual and once they serve their time, thereís no way to stop them from relapsing, which many folks, unfortunately, do.
I hope this guy does actually stay sober, namely because if he doesnít, heíll end up killing someone in a car wreck.
But sentencing day is not all glum drug addicts and drunks.
There was a petite young lady a few weeks back who stole several hundred dollars from various Flathead County businesses.
She told the judge she was now (and once again, I am not making this up) ďworking under the tableĒ as a waitress to pay off her debt to society.
Good thing the IRS wasnít in the room.
And then there was the homeless woman who didnít show up to court.
Somehow she managed to post a $2,500 bond, but didnít have a place to live. The judge found that incredulous. I did, too.
Have a good week.
Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.