A political discussion bound to get me unfriended

I try not to be too political here, since I feel like politics are divisive at their core and throughout the centuries, political affiliation has broken families apart, created wars, and put some awful people into positions of power. However, this year, Colorado has a proposition on the ballot which is very controversial. It pertains to the re-introduction of wolves to our eighth largest state.

Never mind that wolves are already here.

I grew up in a rural community, which was heavility supported by ranching, hunting, and other activities which automatically set the default at Extremely Red State when it comes to how people vote. I remember nights when people had dumped dead coyotes on the center line of Main St. of my hometown, or how the creedo of “shoot, shovel, and shut the fuck up” is common.

The resounding NOPE of my community is loud and clear. Never mind that a community of God-fearing, right wing, 2nd Amendment loving, domestic beer drinking folks also has some of the highest abortion rates per capita. One might think that it was being used as birth control it is so common. Yes. That was a cheap shot for the hypocrisy of people.

Here’s another cheap shot. Or several. Buckle up.

One of the arguments against reintroducing wolves to an area which spans thousands of square miles of public land, private land, and several different biomes is the destruction that wolves impose on the cattle industry, hunting, and the general safety of people in the area.

Let us consider for a moment, those poor ungulates who roam the wilds of North Park. The gentle and majestic Moose. This animal is like a draft horse with all the lethal hardware of a deer. Because it is a deer. And anybody who knows about moose, knows that they get cranky because those antlers are the fastest growing living tissue outside of bamboo. The process is so painful that moose probably co-adapted eating willow bark because of its analgesic properties. Yes, moose are self-medicating aspirin. Moose get cranky and trample, gore, and fuck up the days of a lot of people every year. My hometown prides itself on being the moose viewing capitol of Colorado, with…damn, like a bazillion moose living up there. Seriously, they are like rats. 1200lb rats with a migraine and a rack of antlers that can flip a Hyundai.

So far, nobody has been gored.

Why am I picking on moose? Well, I’m going to pick on other animals too. Next will be ranchers. The erridication of wolves was a gradual process, popular with Manifest Destiny. Right around the same time buffalo proved a threat to Westward Expansion–likely because they were the main food supply of an entire civilization of human beings that the Federal Government wanted…um, sent to extinction?–the buffalo were hunted out. They were also big animals who could barrel through a fence, which was what cattle and sheep farmers really disliked about the bastards. The Feds didn’t like that the Indians could build an entire town out of one and survive the harsh winters of the American West, so they had to go. Since then, pretty much what ranchers have been saying has been fine for everyone. In World War Two when the Federal Government, who hadn’t successfully starved out the noble creature known as the American Rancher with a thing called the Great Depression suddenly needed food for its troops who were being used to kill other people all over the planet (not picking on WW2, or the validity of what it accomplished–if any war was justified in American History, it was that one. You know, once we decided to actually join in the fight. Four years after Manchuria and Poland were invaded).

Wolves, like the Native Americans before them, were an apex predator in competition for resources. Mainly cattle, who were needed to make C-Rations. I guess somehow they comprised the edible part of these tins of food soldiers relied on in the field. So in order to boil down massive amounts of cattle into nearly inedible canned stew, more cattle needed to be grazed. Colorado was a good place for this, since short growing seasons meant hardly anything grew here. Plus leather was needed for A-2 Flight Jackets, which were pretty damned sweet for pilots looking to plow English girls.

Since bullets were needed to shoot Germans and Japanese, they poisoned the wolves. And the raptors. Because an eagle will eat a sheep or a calf too, apparently. Then they blamed the death of the majestic bald eagle on DDT, which was killing mosquitoes. But yeah. The slow moving rancher could not prevent the loss of livestock, and so baited meat and traps were used to kill the living fuck out of the competition…the wolves this time, not the Native Americans.

Since then, cattle ranching has become a lucrative business. In my hometown, mostly for millionaires who want to dress up and play cowboy for a couple weekends a year. You see, cattle ranches often take a huge loss, and if you own one, you can write it off on your taxes. It’s what every good millionaire does!

A lot of ranchers I have known (and I’m not saying all by any means) generally just kinda let the cattle do their thing. They move them around sometimes, brand them, artificially inseminate them, help them deliver delicious offspring, but most of the time the cattle are self-employed, roaming around public grazing lands (yes, public lands), becoming ribeyes. And dog food. And fertilizer for vegans to put on soy fields.

The argument is that a wolf will kill a cow for fun, just shredding it until it bleeds out, painfully. However, I’ve seen bone piles where cattle carcasses are dragged, each having one thing in common. Baling twine. You see, when a rancher can’t be bothered to take the fucking twine off a hay bale, the idiot cows will eat the twine, and it will eventually kill them. Painfully. Binding up their digestive tracts which are full of hay, which I guess the baling twine is just really dedicated to its job. Then they pile up the dead cattle in an undisclosed location, where the coyotes pick at the bones until all that is left is tiny little balls of red baling twine and bones. And the lonely howl of the wind in the sage.

This bill includes compensation for cattle and livestock killed by wolves too. Sorta like the compensation ranchers got for killing entire herds at the beginning of COVID because people weren’t buying enough and it was killing futures in the stock market. Don’t feel too bad for the ranchers, they are still being paid.

Hunters complain that wolves kill deer and elk in this way too. You know what else kills them? Prion disease. You know what else prion disease kills? People. You know what prion disease doesn’t kill? Wolves. So, a wolf pack kills some diseased animals and eats them before you can eat these diseased animals and be killed by prion disease.

And hey, since wolf populations will now be “managed” you can try to shoot one for a trophy instead of that deer nobody wants to eat because venison is disgusting. Elk sucks too. Unless you mix it with beef. Then, just eat beef.

I got to hear super hunter and Oregonian, Cam Hanes on Joe Rogan the other day voicing his opposition to wolves in Colorado. The most invasive species in Colorado are the Californian, Texan, and Oregonian. Don’t let this fucker fool you. No wolf ever drove up the cost of my property! If anything they keep property values low, because nobody wants their grandmother to be eaten by a wolf when she is lying in bed with COVID, waiting for her grand-daughter to bring her a basket of goodies.

The final thing is forest fires. Wolves target stupid, slow, and sick creatures. Which likely means the same type of people who will idiotically leave a campfire burning when they are camping and burn down most of my goddamned state. Wolves prevent forest fires by eating tourists who are too stupid to know how to not burn down the forest. * (Okay. They don’t eat campers. But I wish something would have happened to those careless assholes that started all these fires. Maybe the moose need to step up their game and trample some people.)

Trust the science.

That’s it for now. If anyone is left, please vote YES on 114.

I am not a Deep State Wolf.

*It has been brought to my attention (and rightfully so) that in spite of the wolf packs in Yellowstone, there have been no attacks on humans since reintroduction. And there are lots of people and wolves in Yellowstone right now. You are probably more at risk being bitten by a shih-tzu.

If you aren’t angry, you aren’t paying attention

My son, who is hopelessly addicted to electronics–just like everyone else these days–asked me if we had the book Shiloh at home. I told him we did, and asked him if he remembered when I read it to him a few years ago. He did not, which was a shame, since I did all different voices with the characters and everything.

I found the book and gave it to him and to his delight, it didn’t have “tape” on the words.

I asked him what he meant by that. My thoughts went immediately to how schools are underfunded and have beaten up old books that have to be cobbled together. We take care of our books in my house.

No, he told me, the school had gone through every copy of Shiloh and used white out tape to cover up any mention of the words “gun,” “rifle,” or any other firearms related term in the book.

This fucking country, man.

I get that there is a crisis going on, with kids getting a wild hair up their ass and deciding to go to school and shoot a bunch of people. My son has regular lock-down drills. He’s a third grader. The way that these drills are handled is horrifying. The teachers basically just start yelling to get down or lock the doors or whatever. This usually results in some kids bawling their eyes out because they are terrified.

Some schools are giving kids their own baseball to throw at an attacker. Which to me is ludicrous. Oftentimes the gun debate leans towards the prospect of arming teachers, which many reject outright. “We aren’t trained Law Enforcement who can deal with an active shooter!” No, but apparently, arming a bunch of 4th graders with sports gear is an acceptable solution when using deadly force. I’m gonna go on a limb here and say that getting pummeled with 30+ baseballs would suck, but I doubt we have any Nolan Ryans in the classroom who would do much more than put a bruise on someone’s leg. And besides, do we really want to encourage what is essentially stoning in our schools?

I mean, these are the same kids who can’t throw rocks at each other at recess without expulsion. Do they have the training or wherewithal to even direct a projectile at another human being in this way? Remember how badly Dodgeball is treated in schools?

I remember when I was a kid, we had fire drills. The alarm would go off. We would feel that rush of adrenaline in our stomachs, and in spite of our first reaction to scream “Yay! The school’s on fire!” we would just stand up, line up at the front door and calmly walk down the hall and then spend the next ten to twenty minutes milling around outside until the alarms were shut off in the building.

My son informs me that active shooter drills are the students huddling together in a corner of the room in absolute silence, other than the occasional child weeping uncontrollably in the reading nook, shielded by volumes of Dr. Seuss books and censored paperbacks of Shiloh. This can go on for upwards of half an hour. Of course nobody acknowledges the fact that drywall is not anything more than “light cover.” My son is split between two schools of thought. The side that they tell kids to fight off the attacker, and the other that says to hide like little mice and not to make a sound.

He asked me why adults won’t answer his questions about any of this. I told him, “Son, it’s because they are scared and they don’t know.” My suggestion to him was if there is an active shooter and he can get far, far away safely. Do that.

But the adults aren’t talking.

Here’s the thing that made me mad. At recess, my son and his buddies love to play combat. The resort to finger guns and sound effects to play exactly the same way kids have been playing in schools and playgrounds for hundreds of years. They are sneaky about it too. They also fill their brains with just about every damned thing they can about the military and are absolutely fascinated by it. A big reason they are fascinated by it is because the schools have made it a taboo subject. They have completely mystified gun violence.

They have removed firearms from the discussion completely. Which worked wonders with Prohibition, the War on Drugs, Rock and Roll, cigarettes, sex, witchcraft, and just about anything else the establishment has deemed as “forbidden.” It has gotten to the point that kids can’t even ask questions about Why something is happening or Why this is being done. Kids love to ask Why. They never accept “Because I said so” as an answer.

Which is why we have had people walk on the moon.

People absolutely SUCK at taking “because I said so” as gospel. Which is why we have so many religious denominations as well, because people kept looking for answers to their questions. This is also encouraged in analytical thought, or should have been, since Plato. When people stop asking questions is when things get dangerous. Questions such as “Why is it okay to buy and sell those people whose skin is darker than mine?” Questions such as “Why are we all getting on these boxcars again?” Questions like that.

Here’s my question: How does this make any sense at all? For the last 20 years, America has been in a “forever war” in the Middle East. In some cases there are active duty military personnel who are fighting alongside one or both parents. That is how long this war has been going on. The military is also a viable option for many people to find a career, or at the very least get training for a vocation or college funding. In case you didn’t know, the military is part of the Government. You know, the same government that runs schools, law enforcement, firefighting, roads and bridges, and everything else we pay taxes for. It’s the same government staffed by figureheads we argue about on facebook every day, plaster their faces on posters and lunchboxes, and demonize when our guy loses and theirs wins.

But guns are bad. So evil that the word needs to be removed from a middle-reader book. Even though when that kid is 18, they could enlist in the military or a police academy, and be turned out on the world with a totally evil and awful gun in their hands. Or you know, hunt for their food if the government fails them, much like what the poor white trash kid from Shiloh has been doing to help feed his family.

I guess it’s okay if Katniss Everdeen does it with a bow. But you have to white out “.22” when it comes to Shiloh.

But, kids who have an interest would already be considered social pariahs and at risk because of their interests. At some point, we start looking at things like classism. Aptitude testing. Psychological profiling. Filling the ranks of our police and military with kids who show a disposition for “Violence” and “Psychopathy.” Because that always ends well too. Let’s just profile people due to a perceived disposition for violence and put them into facilities or vocations.

Maybe what should be considered in censoring Shiloh is that a kid with nothing but a gun never considers using that gun on a man he considers vile, who has abused the only friend he has in the world, which he loves more than anything. At the heart of this story, there is love. Never once does the kid decide to go on a rampage. Instead, he works off his debt to earn his dog, and in the process, he earns the respect of others.

What the kid, and the cranky-ass old man learn, is compassion. Grace. Patience. Tolerance.

Removing guns from the discussion won’t solve anything. Removing discussions from the discussion is even worse. This is why people have championed against censorship throughout the history of this nation. Why it is the FIRST Amendment in our Bill of Rights.

It just pisses me off that the same schools that have “Banned Books Week” have the balls to ban words in those books. When you censor the individual words, you leave a blank space that is open for anything else to get in. Because nature abhors a vacuum. And when you can’t supply children with answers to their questions, they come up with their own.