Trial by Fish

Yesterday I killed eight of my goldfish. I felt guilty, so I wrote down my thoughts in the matter in the form of a trial. Unfortunately, the Court found me guilty, but placed a light sentence on me. It ruled that accidental death is still a death, whether it be one victim or eight of them. Here is the majority of the transcript of the trial:

The defendant, Dani, is accused of willfully and maliciously murdering eight fish. How does the defendant plead?

“It was an accident, your honor.”

She pleads guilty. You may call your first witness.

I call Luci.

Luci, what exactly did you see?

I saw her dip a glass in the tank and remove some water, then she added something to the glass which made the water turn yellow. She dumped the contents of the glass back in the tank, walked to the kitchen, filled the glass and added to the water. It took no time at all for all eight of the fish to gasp for breath. She immediately removed some of the water and added other water. In minutes all of the fish were dead, but she kept the process of removing the water up until the last fish died.

So, you saw her poison the fish?

I saw her add stuff to the water.

Thank you. You are excused. I call Moses. Moses, what did you see?

The same thing, except I followed her everywhere. The first time she went to the kitchen, she pulled a clear judge and added liquid to the glass which she poured in the water. She repeated the little glass thing, then went back to the kitchen and added a quick splash of liquid from a white jug to the water in the glass which she added to the tank. She seemed upset when the fish started gasping. Then she took water from the tank and replaced it with sink water…no other stuff added to the glass. She kept transferring water, finally, she just removed water from the tank. She kept crying and saying, “Please, don’t die. Aw, come on, live.”

So, you believe she did not murder the fish?

I think it was an accidental death, your honor.

Moses, you are excused. I call Dani.

Dani, what happened?

“I tested the pH level of the tank and it was not acidic enough, so first I added vinegar which did not raise the acidity, then I added a little bleach to the water. The fish reacted violently, and I determined that if I thinned the water down, I might be able to save their lives. Unfortunately I was not fast enough, and they died from shock.”

We find you, the defendant, Dani, guilty of accidentally murdering your fish. Our sentence is a guilty conscience, and we urge you to have anti chlorination liquids in the house. We also urge you to stock up on pH Up, which would have corrected the problem without the need to shock the fish. Do you understand?

“I do, your honor, and I thank the Court for its kindness in allowing me to live.”

This is hardly a crime which calls for a death penalty. You did not deliberately murder your pets. You just did something stupid.

“Begging the Court’s pardon, but don’t people get severe punishments on a regular basis for accidental deaths?”

Yes, unfortunately, they do, but sometimes accidental deaths occur from irresponsibility, and we punish people for irresponsible behavior. The Court saw no irresponsible behavior other than not having pH Up in the house. Now, keep some in the house!

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