16 May 2012

Tombstone and Mexican spotted owl

Let me ask you all a question: imagine you are dying from thirst, and the only way for you to get a glass of water is to disturb a Mexican spotted owl that has chosen to build a nest between you and the spring. What do you do?

Now let's make the situation a bit more complex by adding a few details and a third party. The details: you have to cross a distance of two or three miles to get to the water; the way is covered by boulders and thorns; you are weakening. The third party (let's call it Forest Service ranger) demands that you crawl in order not to disturb the said owl, oh, and by the way, you cannot crawl directly to the water - you have to crawl around, keeping at least a mile between yourself and the owl's nest. What do you do? The picture is incomplete regarding the question of whether you have any weapons on you.

After you have dealt with the two tests above, I am allowed to tell you that in fact there ain't no owl in the area. There was one some time ago... possibly.

The test above has some vague bearing on the situation that developed in the Arizona town of Tombstone. It is too exciting to retell, so read the article and/or watch this clip:

Er... what the heck: I have to quote a paragraph from that article:

A request filed with the Forest Service for information regarding their specific concerns has been stonewalled. An organization called "Goldwater Institute" has come forward to try to help the town of Tombstone and again requested this same information under the Freedom of Information act. They were told they could have the information, for a fee of $80,000.
From what I've read about Wyatt Earp, financial considerations weren't totally alien to him. Of course, today's sum of $80,000 doesn't go as far as it used to in, say, 1890. Still, Mr Earp, $80,000 and a few Forest Service functionaries - hm... it would have made an interesting meeting... and I know which side I would cheer.

Hat tip: Sara Noble.