Tuesday, January 5, 2016


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Sandhill Crane
I've been to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. I've slept on a bunk in one of its rustic cabins, a few years ago, on an ornithology field trip. The Refuge headquarters was, and is, a desolate place, with a scrappy little headquarters building where you could buy maps and birding books and dusty souvenirs, and the bunk houses.

The refuge itself is desolate and not beautiful, unless you're a desert person. (Look up the definition of the French word "malheur," and you'll find it means "mishap, accident, calamity, tragedy.")

Image result for malheur national wildlife refugeBut the birds we saw there were amazing. This is where I first saw a golden eagle. As we were hiking around one day, someone in the group ahead of us yelled, "Shhh!" in a voice fit to wake the dead. So we all "shhh'ed" and looked at what they were looking at: A golden eagle at the edge of a gigantic nest, feeding a baby golden eagle. It was so beautiful and touching, and wild. 

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But those idiots who are "peacefully protesting" with their guns by breaking several laws, breaking into public buildings (at night when no one was there --- how brave they are! --- one of them calls himself "Captain Moroni" --- as if!) to protest on behalf of some guys who had also committed crimes but who submitted themselves to the consequences and disavowed these criminals' so-called support --- are just pantalleros,** and someone needs to tell them their 15 minutes are up. And it turns out the local residents, as well as the sheriff, are asking them to leave.

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The Bundy family are criminals, stealing land rights granted to them by lease by the federal government. They owe more than a million dollars for grazing their cattle on land that WE, we the people, own.

Another thing: People who want these federal lands to be put under state or local control are clearly just hoping for a smaller, more compliant, target to manipulate.

The federal lands in the West do belong to all of us, and I hope they stay federal, and ours.

**pantallero: I learned this word in Venezuela. It originates from the Spanish word for screen, "pantalla." Pantalleros are people who see themselves on the big screen, or imagine themselves on the big screen (in the movies or TV), and begin to presume that they are important and worthy of being on the big screen. They are vain show-offs without any purpose other than to show off.

1 comment:

Jeff Wynn said...

There are hand-sprayed signs posted nearby that say "Bundys go home!"