Baxter Black: A day in the life of a city
All in the same day the city newspaper carried stories about crime, predators, instant millionaires, mad hikers and oppressed artists.
• Young men die and killers go free
The front page picture shows a family holding up a photo of their murdered son. Ten witnesses saw who did it but none will testify. This took place in a neighborhood ruled by gangs. Any person willing to testify knows with certainty they will be targeted themselves in retribution.
• Animal control efforts debated
The USDA division of Wildlife Services in the last six years has trapped, poisoned or shot over half a million coyotes and another 50,000 animals in “friendly fire” including dogs, eagles and bears. Animal rights groups are issuing demands to stop “needlessly killing non-targeted animals.” They suggest our culture of predator control exists because it is “macho to kill.” Livestock producers, the victims of predation, are trying to adopt “kindler, gentler,” methods of pest extermination. So far the most effective, but more gruesome methods prevail.
• Family feud over jackpot
A 76-year-old woman won $32 million in the lotto. She is suing her grown son, charging him with co-opting her winnings. Records show to date she has received $125,000 cash, an SUV and a house to live in. He pays her cell phone bill. The son has spent $2.3 million on four houses, bought 10 vehicles and has given away hundreds of thousands of dollars as gifts. She bought the ticket but he says he gave her the money.
• County agrees with mountain packers
For 200 years packers and outfitters have taken men into the high country of our National Parks. They have allowed many hundreds of thousands to reap ethereal and practical benefits of nature’s beauty. Hikers are attempting to outlaw the use of horses to what they call “sensitive areas.” They realize their restrictions would shut out the majority of “back country lovers,” which, of course, is their intention.
• Tattoo shops face new regulations
The State government has decided that tattoo and body piercing businesses should be regulated like barber shops and restaurants. There has been no demand for the service and complaints are rare but the state wants to make it a public health issue anyway.
What can we deduce from these stories? First, we have neighborhoods in America that are as dangerous as Baghdad under Saddam Hussein. Despot’s rule because the victims don’t shoot back. Regarding reducing predator control, the ranchers should declare themselves “non-targeted animals” and sue. As for the disreputable son; just one more reason to believe that in the end God will dispense the proper justice. The packers vs. the hikers is a typical self-righteous “haves” trying to separate themselves from the teeming masses. And last, the public health issue – my question is, how many tattoo artists does it take to pay the salary and benefits for one more government employee?