Off with his head! (Keith Sracokic/File, Associated Press)
Off with his head! (Keith Sracokic/File, Associated Press)

Ohio authorities now threatening Punxsutawney Phil with the death penalty for his failure to predict the weather correctly. Butler County, Ohio, Prosecuting Attorney Michael T. Gmoser brought charges against him for “MISREPRESENTATION OF EARLY SPRING.”

If we can’t trust the groundhog, whom can we trust?

Look, perhaps we should just accept as a rule that no one who makes a prediction on television with a lot of fanfare, human or otherwise, will ever be right. Except Nate Silver. Can we produce a groundhog Nate Silver? Science, get on this! (Best case scenario: we have perfect, adorable weather predictions. Worst-case scenario: We have a terrifying scientific abomination that will still pick a more satisfactory March Madness bracket than I did.)

This is a slippery slope, though. Are we really going to start punishing those who predict incorrectly? Ask for the groundhog’s head today, and tomorrow all those people who urged a Romney victory will be on the chopping block — instead of the current punishment: a book deal and promotion to a juicier timeslot.

Then again, the people claiming a Romney victory could not conceivably be blamed for this weather. It’s been awful! It’s the kind of weather you would like to blame on something. Perhaps if we gently sacrifice a groundhog, the weather gods will be appeased. It is about as scientifically sound as expecting reliable weather predictions from one of the furry celebrities in the first place.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.