You don’t ever want to get sentenced to five life sentences in Germany. It could cost you up to twenty-four years of your life (you do the math). The German penal system, feared the world over for its severity and heartlessness, has decided not to make an exception with the Baader-Meinhof Gang member/RAF terrorist Brigitte Mohnhaupt and not make an exception this time, for once.

That’s right. She has been released after actually having served her full sentence of five times life in prison. You think I’m joking here, but I’m not. This is what five life sentences come out to be here in Germany; twenty-four years. Germans not only drive faster, it seems, they live a whole lot faster than other folks do.

There is no real life sentence in Germany, in other words. But that’s not the issue. Neither is Frau Mohnhaupt’s refusal to show the slightest bit of regret about what she did. She doesn’t regret what she did, of course, but they can’t keep her in jail any longer because of that. The real issue, I believe, is that Germans are all excited about have something senseless to talk about again.

Those boring old left-right divisions from damals (back then, yawn) in the 70s, still echoing through (West) German politics to this very day, are calling for the ritual display of disgust (right) and agreement (mid-stream legalese, FDP) to juvenile glee (left). Perhaps the RAF wasn’t all that boring back then, maybe it was a real issue and actually meant something back then, or seemed to. But it certainly doesn’t mean anything now. Unless you belong to one of the victim’s families, that is.

But in all fairness, I doubt if even the Germans will be able to debate about such nonsense for all too much longer (they’ve still got Christian Klar to go). It would be kind of like getting all hot and bothered about people having taken LSD or having avoided the draft back in the 60s in the US. It’s just not all that interesting anymore, people. But let’s stay tuned and see how long-winded the Germans really are. They’re certainly hot-winded enough. Hardy, har, har.

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