San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, October 11, 2013

I Am Terrified Of The Cops

I feel like I live in a police state.  Ever since 9/11, when things ostensibly changed forever, I have had the distinct impression that the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is inexorably moving towards a police state.  The passage of the oxymoronic "Patriot Act" really did change everything.  Prior to that destructive bit of legislation there was still some basic understanding that domestic police forces worked for the people.  Since that act the police have become a para-military organization charged with the goal of keeping the masses in compliance with an ever increasing body of arbitrary and oppressive law. 
My comments are not based upon a recent encounter with a cop that went badly for me.  I have been driving for over 40 years and never been issued a citation.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have been pulled over by the costumed goons carrying guns called police officers.  I have never been arrested and I have never had a officer of the law/rules in my home.  I do not speak with cops socially and I look the other way whenever I see one in public.  So my comments are based, I believe, more upon an objective analysis of what I see and read more than some subjective bias or desire to get revenge on a cop who has done me wrong.
I posted an article similar to this a month or so ago.  It was about how the police are no longer our friends.  It can be found here.  But saying that someone is not my friend and saying that I fear someone are two very different things.  I do not expect the cops to be my friends anymore than I expect any government employee or agent to be my friend.  We live in two different worlds.  They are parasites living off of my productive efforts.  We tolerate each other but we will never be friends.  Saying that I fear the cops represents a significant degeneration in our social relationship.  Every time I see a cop I experience a quickened pulse rate and a strong desire to get elsewhere as quickly as possible.  I know what they have done, can do and will do to citizens of the SDA and I want no part of it.
Crime rates are down all across the SDA.  Violent crime rates are down all across the SDA.  Acts of domestic terrorism are down all across the SDA.   In light of these facts the rational thing to do would be to reduce the amount of tax dollars being spent on crime fighting.  When there is less of something to fight it makes sense to spend less money fighting it.  Not so when it involves a government bureaucracy.  The number of cops in the SDA has risen dramatically.   Some cities have more than 200 cops per square mile.  The amount of law enforcement equipment has increased dramatically since 9/11.  The type of law enforcement equipment being used today is more closely related to the various branches of the military than anything used previously by police forces.  Even tiny little towns of several thousand people now have armored vehicles to face down the errant farmer or rancher who has not paid his parking ticket.
The body of law that we are all expected to comply with has increased exponentially.  In just the past ten years it has become illegal to drive your car with a cell phone in your hand, to have your young child in a child seat facing the wrong direction, to walk through a section of the airport with your shoes on, to sell lemonade at a street-side market and a host of other silly laws that have nothing to do with morality.  Cops are expected to enforce all of these rules.  I am in violation of these rules everyday.  I ought to be arrested everyday.  Cops are trying to arrest me for violating these rules everyday.  All of this makes for a very combustible situation wherein the cops and I become enemies of each other.  When the cops and I become enemies they always win since they have the guns.
Many of the new hires in the various para-military police forces around the country are taken from ex-military types.  Many of these fellows love violence.  They love fighting and brawling.  They love enforcing their will on others.  In a word, they are extremely unfit to act as police officers.  The incidence of police violence against honest citizens is rocketing skyward.  Do a search for videos of police violence and intimidation and you will be shocked by what you see.  The fact that these cops are behaving this way when they know they are being recorded only illustrates how seared their consciences have become as they wail away on law abiding citizens. 
Many cops have also adopted the popular style of trying to look tough.  Have you noticed how many cops are now skinheads?  They may walk around with enough body armor to withstand a machine gun burst but when it comes to their heads they proudly display their skin.  They want everyone to know that they are not to be messed with.  They want everyone to know that they are in charge and we are to submit to their every order without question.  And that is their idea of public service?  
At the same time the cops have become a military force to be used against us they have also been highly successful in a propaganda campaign designed to convince us they are underpaid heroes worthy of our worship.  I already know the visceral reaction many people would have when reading this post.  But these men put their lives on the line every day to protect our freedoms, they say (sounds a lot like the justification for worshiping soldiers, doesn't it?).  If it were not for the selfless efforts of these heroic men we would have been overrun by domestic terrorists in the last decade, I am told.  Hogwash.  Being an officer of the law/rules does not even come close to being a dangerous occupation.  It is not listed in any of the top ten most dangerous professions in this land.  The one thing cops make sure of before they do anything is that they are safe.  The safety of the citizens is always secondary.  The cops have managed to persuade the sheeple of this land that their oppressive behavior is for our good and their acts of violence against us are really acts of heroism.  We have been duped.  We are getting what we deserve.
If you think I am just blowing hot air, here is an experiment I would like for you to try.  I would try it myself but I am way too afraid of the cops to ever do what I suggest here.  But if you believe that the cops are your friends and have your best interests at heart it should be easy for you to do.  You have certain constitutional rights.  Among those rights is the right to not have to incriminate yourself.  The next time you are pulled over by a skinhead cop and he asks you "Do you know why I pulled you over?" tell him that you will give him your drivers license, that you do not consent to any searches and beyond that you have nothing to say.  Do it nicely.  Do it politely.  But do it.  How do you think he will respond?  I rest my case.

Update:  November 7, 2013

I was reading an article by Will Grigg today in which he described what happened when a man politely informed the costumed thug who had pulled him over that he "did not consent to be searched."  As I hinted above, it was not taken well by the jack-booted government agent who proceeded to turn the innocent man's life into a living hell.  Angered that a citizen of the SDA, who is expected to be a docile and obedient worshiper of state power, would dare to politely inform him that he wanted to exercise his 4th Amendment rights, the cop proceeded to manufacture a reason to arrest the man and have him subjected to a form of medical torture.  As Grigg reported, "Over the next 24 hours, Eckert endured an abdominal X-ray, multiple digital rectal inspections, three enemas, and a colonoscopy."  Of course no evidence of any illegal activity was discovered as a result of the medical torture.  It was about punishing a citizen who politely told a cop to leave him alone.  Read about it here.  Like I said, I rest my case.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

James Holmes Case Becomes More Bizarre

The Denver Post today reported that jurors in the upcoming trial of James Holmes should be prepared to dedicate 8 months of their lives to the proceedings.  I have discussed Holmes in previous posts here, here and here.  He is the person who killed 12 people, and injured another 70, on July 20, 2012 in an Aurora theater.  Over a year has gone by since that event and jury selection has not yet begun.  Holmes was captured immediately.  There was no doubt about his guilt.  There is no reason why this entire process should have taken more than a week or two to resolve.  Holmes should have been executed over a year ago yet he continues to live and make headlines.  All of this, of course, is nothing new.  There is no longer a right to a speedy trial because there is too much money and political capital to be made by delaying the process.          
The right to a speedy trial was historically significant because it protected the rights of the accused and forced the state to get on with things and not keep the alleged criminal languishing in prison.  My how things have changed.  Today the right to a speedy trial is best seen from the perspective of the taxpayers.  With the state claiming to be the injured party in all criminal cases, it necessarily follows that state prosecutors and their associated entourages have a strong incentive to delay and prolong the process as much as possible.  The longer they can draw out the judicial process, the more money they can make.  In high profile cases like James Holmes there is a political incentive as well.  Being in front of the television cameras on a weekly basis is a good way to build up political reserves that can be used later to run for office in the hopes of becoming a career politician.  Throughout all of these machinations, it is the taxpayers who get the dirty end of the stick.         
The latest chapter in the James Holmes case dramatically illustrates the greed being put on ample display by the state prosecutors.  As a side note, I suspect that this greed is also shared by Holmes' defense attorneys.  Holmes is being defended by the public defenders office.  The longer his case extends the more money and publicity they receive as well.  Both sides of the case agree that drawing this case out for years is in their best interests.  Meanwhile the interests of the taxpayers are ignored.  Meanwhile the interests of the victims and the families of those who were murdered are ignored.  This is what passes for justice in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika these days.         
Judge Carlos Samour issued a statement yesterday in which he announced that jurors in the case should be prepared to serve for as long as 8 months.  Eight months!  How can it possibly take that long to find Holmes guilty?  Even worse, the judge announced that the simple process of jury selection could take "two or three months" and will not even begin until next year, almost a year and a half after the murders.  Why do we let these robbers get away with this?  How many millions of taxpayer dollars are going down the drain while these professional thieves practice law at our expense?  Why is there no public outcry for a speedy trial?  I don't know.  It is all a mystery to me.         
Holmes has issued a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.  Let's assume for the moment that Holmes is insane, whatever that means.  Do insane people know they are insane?  If not, how could Holmes plead that he is insane when he does not know that he is?  If he does know that he is insane, how could he know enough to know that he is insane since his insanity would likely prevent him from knowing this truth about himself?    Plus, what does it mean to be insane?  Plus, why does it matter if he was insane or not when he murdered 12 people?  We already know the answer to that last question.  If Holmes can be determined to have been insane, whatever that means, when he murdered those 12 people, he can avoid the death penalty.  The prosecutor has announced that he will seek the death penalty. That has raised the stakes in the trial significantly.         
All of this is pure theater and nothing more.  People are rarely executed in Colorado.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the death penalty in Colorado, "Colorado was the last state to perform an execution in the pre-Furman period (1967), but since 1977, when it reinstated the death penalty, has executed only one prisoner and may thus be considered a de facto abolitionist since October 2007."  In other words, as far as the death penalty is concerned, it ain't gonna happen.
All of this talk about seeking the death penalty and attempting to avoid it by pleading not guilty by reason of insanity is nothing more that a highly successful ploy on the part of both the prosecution and the defense to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense by racking up thousands of billable hours.  Even if they are not being paid thousands of dollars in overtime, in addition to their already inflated salaries, these lawyers are spending millions of taxpayer dollars on their psychiatric reports, criminal studies and a bevy of other expert witnesses.  I am disgusted.  I can't even begin to comprehend the anguish that is being experienced by the victims of Holmes' rampage.  They are learning, like all victims of criminal activity in the SDA learn, that they have no voice in the matter.  The entire system is run by a bunch of cronies who look out for each other with no regard to those who were harmed.  And lawyers wonder why we hate them so.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cell Phones Eliminate Youthful Adventures

I was out riding my bike on a beautiful fall afternoon yesterday when a thought occurred to me.  I was remembering a story from my youth about a bicycling adventure one of my compatriots experienced.  As I was recalling the ancient story in my mind it occurred to me that what happened to my friend that day would never happen to any youth today.  Why, you ask?  Because of the cell phone.
Parents tell me that they appreciate the fact that they can contact their children at any time via the cell phone.  Teenagers tell me they appreciate the fact that they can contact their parents at any time because of the cell phone.  Although both parties in this transaction believe the cell phone to be a good deal, I do not.  I believe both parents and kids are being duped. Sometimes it is possible to have too much communication between parents and their older children.  There is something to be said for being independent and not having each party completely aware of the other person's activities.  There is occasionally great value in having to fend for yourself as a youth.  I know that goes counter to modern parenting theories but I think it is true.  Allow me to explain by telling you a couple of tales from my youth.
The story I was remembering today involved a fellow we nicknamed Rocky.  We called him that because even as a tender teenager he was beginning to show the characteristics of a hard man.  Rocky seemed like a good name for a hard teenager.  We used to do a lot of bike riding together in the mountains near our home.  In those days a 60 mile ride into the mountains was a big day for us.  One day Rocky announced that he was going to do a 100 mile ride the next day. None of the rest of our riding group was interested in something that hard so we wished him well and made plans to do something else.  Two days later we heard the story of Rocky's great adventure.
He was going to ride deep into the mountains to a remote Indian pueblo and then return.  The pueblo was 50 miles away.  As he arrived at the pueblo he developed a leak in his tire.  Actually it was more of a flat.  The tires that we rode on at the time were known as "sew up" tires.  They did not have a tube and when one went flat it had to be removed from the rim and another leak free tire had to be glued in its place.  Needless to say Rocky did not have a spare tire.  Being a good mountaineer however, he did have a roll of duct tape.  So what did he do?  He put duct tape around the area of the leak and pumped up the tire.  When he first tried to ride he fell over because the duct tape caught on the brake housing.  So he opened his brakes as far as he could, effectively losing his front brake, and started on his way.  He had to stop about every 15 minutes to pump up the tire.  The descent down the mountains, in the dark, and back to his home was harrowing.  But he made it and the next day he told us the tale.  We laughed so hard we cried.
Another day three of us were doing a little bike ride we called "the loop".  It was a 30 mile loop route with a good deal of ups and downs on it.  About 20 miles into the ride, on a fast downhill stretch, one of my buddies had a back tire blowout.  Of course none of us was carrying a spare tire.  So we told the fellow who had the blowout to sit under a nearby pine tree while we raced home to get the truck.  It didn't take long for us to get home and we quickly turned around and drove back in an old pickup truck that belong to one fellow's dad.  This was an old pickup with running boards on the side.  We picked up our stranded cyclist, threw his bike into the back, and proceeded to ride back to the house with two of us standing on the side running boards.  Needless to say we went especially fast around the corners and through the canyons.  We were whooping and hollering all the way home.  And guess what?  None of us was wearing a helmet.  And we all survived.
Another day Rocky and I were out on some four wheel drive roads in the canyons near our homes just driving around looking at the scenery.  He had an old Toyota Corolla, or at least that is what I believe it was.  It had a stick shift mounted on the steering column as I recall.  We took that little car everywhere.  As we were tooling along one side canyon we approached an arroyo.  For those of you who don't know, an arroyo is basically a dry wash.  It has a lot of sand in the middle of it.  I told Rocky, who was driving, to gun it and see if we could get through.  He gunned it and we were immediately stuck in the middle of the arroyo.  I told him to gun it some more.  He gunned it some more and we sank into the sand up to the floorboards.  We spent the next several hours doing everything we could to extricate the car.  Nothing worked.  Finally we realized that if we were to get home before dark we would have to go get help.  We hiked several miles of jeep roads back to the main road and then hitchhiked to town where we obtained the assistance of our friend and his old pickup truck.  He brought the truck and a tow chain back to the deserted Toyota and we were soon out and on our way back home.  As we sat around the garage that night talking about the day's adventure we laughed so hard we cried.
Another day a church youth group came to town.  Our church gave this traveling group of youth a place to stay.  As one of the leaders of our youth group I was instructed to entertain these eastern folk (they were from Ohio).  I suggested we go on a nice hike along the majestic Rio Grande river.  The hike I envisioned would be a point to point, starting a fair distance away and ending back at the church.  We would drive to the distant trail head, drop into the canyon where the river was, bushwhack up the Rio Grande, climb back out of the canyon and arrive back at church in time for dinner.  I told my fellow youth to bring a quart of water minimum.  
I was late morning when we got started.  It was a hot summer day.  I discovered shortly after the car which had dropped us off had departed that my eastern hiking partners had interpreted my exhortation to bring plenty of water as an instruction to bring a grand total of one quart of water for all people involved (If I recall there were 5-6 of them).  Not knowing what else to do (we could always drink out of the river) we continued on our way.  As it turned out, the hike I had planned turned out to be much too difficult for the teenagers who were with me. We were only about half way to the final destination when they began to complain bitterly about thirst and fatigue.  I could see things were not going to end well.  So I improvised.  We were following the Rio in the bottom of a rather deep canyon.  I took the most responsible of the group and pointed out a spot on the canyon rim where a jeep road could be found.  I told him to get the group to that point.  Meanwhile, I was going to get back to town and get a car to that point on the canyon rim.
I bid them farewell and started up.  Being quite a bit faster I was able to get to the canyon rim, jog the couple of miles of jeep road to the main road and hitchhike back to town.  I got the family station wagon and headed back.  I found the group, slowly staggering along the jeep road, just a little ways past the rim of the canyon.  As they loaded into the car they told me that they had encountered a vicious rattle snake and one of them claimed to have passed out from dehydration and fatigue.  I considered their tales to be of dubious factuality and drove them back to the church.  When we got back the Youth Pastor had a few choice words for me.  Looking back I can agree that it was not the best decision to take a bunch of greenhorns on such an ambitious adventure.  At the time I figured that all is well that ends well and nobody had been killed or even injured.  I doubt the youth from Ohio felt the same way that night but I guarantee you that every one of those kids has told the story of how he survived the ordeal of almost certain death along the shores of the mighty Rio Grande with his kids.  It was a grand adventure.
Now here is the point of all this reminiscing.  What would have happened if cell phones had been around during my youth?  Rocky would have just called us when his tire went flat and his mom would have gone to pick him up.  She probably would have given him a lecture on the foolishness of not taking a spare tire with him.  We would have called the parent's of the guy with the blown up tire on our ride and let them go and pick him up while we continued homeward, thus missing a sideboard pickup ride of a lifetime.  Rocky could have called his parents and they would have come and pulled him out of the arroyo, along with a stern lecture about the foolishness of trying to cross an arroyo in that type of vehicle.  In the church group adventure it probably would have resulted in Search and Rescue being called out.  One of the hikers would have taken out his cell phone and dialed 911.  We probably would have made the nightly news.  Helicopters would have lifted the stranded hikers from the edge of the Rio Grande and nobody would have had any stories to tell at all.
My point is that cell phones take away a lot of fun.  A great deal of the fun in life is getting out of the problems that we get ourselves into.  Kids today know very little about that.  One phone call and mom or dad is there to the rescue.  It seems to me that the cell phone eliminates almost all youthful adventures.  As I recall my youthful adventures, of which the above tales are a very small part, I will often laugh out loud.  When I get together with those boys from my youth these days, we tell the tales and we laugh until we cry.  I don't think kids today will ever be able to do that.  What tales can you tell of days spent in dark rooms playing video games?  What great adventures occur at the mall?  What fun ever comes from calling, texting, tweeting and voxxing your friends all day long?  I find the whole thing kind of sad. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A-Rod Is Baseball's Lance Armstrong

The title says it all, doesn't it? Lance Armstrong has become emblematic for everything that is wrong with sports.  He is a cheat and a liar.  He is arrogant and abusive.  He is selfish and narcissistic.  He is a self consumed hedonist.  He is incapable of thinking of anyone but himself and he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants.  People were around him only to be stepped on as he made his way to the top.  You could be his friend only if you were willing to immerse your life into his and dedicate yourself to a career of selfless devotion to his professional goals.  Wow!  The more I think about Lance the more I realize he could have a tremendous career in politics.  He has the perfect personality required to be extremely successful as a career politician.  Maybe he will give it a try when he gets over his legal battles with everyone in the cycling world.
One of the things that distinguished Lance from other sports cheaters was his over-the-top arrogance.  He not only broke the rules, he flaunted his cheating ways.  He had everyone in his back pocket.  He routinely asserted that he had never failed a drug test, even though he knew he had failed several of them, because he had already bribed the testing facilities and received their promise to keep things quiet.  He did not even try to hide his intimidating ways in the professional peloton.  I forget the name of the poor cyclist who was riding with him in one Tour de France.  This sad fellow had made some statements about how cyclists needed to come clean and admit how much doping was going on.  Lance, in front of the television cameras, rode up beside him and made the "lips zipped" gesture.  We later learned he threatened the rider with both physical and financial harm if he did not maintain the cyclist code of silence
When dozens of other professional cyclists were confessing (some being forced to do so) that they were visiting a particular Spanish "doctor" to receive bags of doped blood, Lance continued to assert that he was only consulting with the doctor to help him with things like diet and training schedules.  Anyone who did not believe him was confronted by an icy glare and eventually forced out of the small circle of reporters who were permitted to be in the presence of the Lance.
Perhaps the best example of Lance's chutzpah was how he would sue everyone and everything that ever threatened to expose him.  Reporters who had the goods on him were confronted by Lance's formidable legal team and sued into oblivion.  Anyone who made even the least incriminating remark about him was immediately the subject of a lawsuit.  Lance, perhaps more than any professional athlete before him, knew how to use the legal system to perpetual his illegal sports doping.  And that is what brings me to Alex Rodriguez, the Lance Armstrong of professional baseball.
An article on the front page of the sports section of the Denver Post last week ran this headline, "A-Rod sues MLB and its commissioner saying 'witch hunt' soiled his reputation."  Talk about gall!  Alex Rodriguez claims that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig ruined his reputation.  Apparently the bizarre behavior related to his doping had nothing to do with A-Rod destroying his own reputation.  Let's consider this for a moment, shall we?
Just like Lance before him, A-Rod's name has appeared on a list of MLB players who visited a particular clinic in Florida that was providing steroids to the players.  This is not the first time his name has appeared on a list of players who visit "doctors" linked to steroid use.  All of the other players on the list initially denied having anything to do with steroids.  Then, one by one, each of them admitted to what he had been doing.  Commissioner Selig meted out the punishments for all of the players except A-Rod.  A-Rod used a procedural technique to avoid suspension by appealing the ruling that he was guilty of steroid use.  That effectively prohibited the commissioner from doing anything until the appeal is heard, which would not happen until after the season ended. 
So what does A-Rod do just as the season ends and his case comes up?  He files a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme court seeking compensatory and punitive damages from MLB and Commissioner Selig for waging a "relentless campaign to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez."  A-Rod did not need any help to destroy his reputation.  He did it quite well all by himself.  The timing of the filing of the lawsuit was perfect.  It was filed exactly when the league was considering his appeal of the 211 game suspension that was imposed on him on August 5th.  His behavior is so much like Lance's I wonder if he is not taking his cues from some sort of Lance playbook.
In what is unquestionably the most audacious claim in the entire lawsuit, A-Rod alleges that "Selig and MLB tried to smear the three-time AL MVP's reputation to gloss over Selig's past inaction on performance enhancing drugs, which, according to the lawsuit, had 'turned the Golden Age of Baseball into the Golden Age of Steroids.'"  So let me get this straight.  A-Rod is suing Selig for the fact that Selig did not suspend him earlier, when he first became aware of his steroid use?  Because Selig did not bring disciplinary action against A-Rod years ago, A-Rod now alleges that Selig is responsible for his steroid use!  What panache!  What style!  Lance would be proud.  A-Rod has turned his cheating around and now claims that the commissioner of baseball is responsible for his steroid use and he is a victim of the commissioner's previous inaction.  What a concept.  And now, when A-Rod's steroid use is common knowledge, he believes that MLB has conducted a witch-hunt against him simply because they have actually brought disciplinary procedures against him for his cheating!  Can this story get any better? 
A-Rod should be banned from baseball for life.  His records should be erased.  It should be as if he never played the game.  Pete Rose received a lifetime ban from baseball because he bet on baseball games.  He never cheated.  He never threw a game.  He never did anything even remotely approaching what A-Rod has done.  Pete took his punishment like a man and, although he is the first to say he has been treated unfairly, he stays out of the public eye.  He certainly did not bring a lawsuit against MLB.  A-Rod, on the other hand, is one of today's generation of pampered, egotistical professional athletes who believe the universe revolves around them.  He never does anything wrong.  When he gets caught doing something wrong he claims to be the victim.  I hope we never hear from A-Rod again.  Then again, I wouldn't mind hearing about him again.....when he announces that he is running for public office.  It is a perfect fit.

Update:  January 13, 2014

It was just announced that A-Rod will be suspended for the entire 2014 season.  His response was predictable.  He continues to deny that doping has been endemic throughout his career.   He continues to assert that he has been made a scapegoat for the violations of others.  He continues to say that the drug testing protocols are suspect and that he has never tested positive.  He is also threatening to sue everyone and anything that has anything negative to say about him.  Lance would be proud.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Governor Hickenlooper Is Royalty

No other group of people come as close to being royalty in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika as those poor fools who populate the various executive branches of government.  We are all quite familiar with how our President is a King.  Why just last week a woman had to be executed because she had the audacity to drive into one of the many impenetrable metal barriers that surrounds his castle.  Her poor driving skills resulted in her death because the armed guards who protect the King determined that she was somehow a threat to his security.  The lesson to be learned in this situation is if you are a bad driver, stay away from the royal residences and the armed guards that patrol them.
As another example, consider this.  While the citizens of this country are forced to do without certain non-essential government services the King and his Court are exempt from the impact of the shutdown.  Did you know that all government services in Washington DC are classified as "essential"?  It is true.  Perish the thought that the King might have to suffer some of the consequences of his own actions.  He should never be required to live like us plebeians.  Meanwhile, I have had to cancel my scheduled vacation because the National Park I was going to visit is closed.  All that means to me is that the guard at the entrance station of the park would not be able to extract $25 from me prior to allowing me to enter the park.  After entering the park I would never have seen an agent of the park again.  Why I cannot enter my park (government people keep telling me I own it) and walk around it on my own is not explained to me.  I guess just having some government employee taking a nap behind the counter in the Visitor Center is necessary for my safety as I hike around the park's trails.
There was a headline article in the Denver Post last week entitled, "Hick Shines During Crisis."  "Hick" is Colorado Governor Hickenlooper.  The article made some interesting points.  The author of the article, Lynn Bartels, said that "New York's mayor rebounded after 9/11.  New Jersey's governor went up in the polls after Hurricane Sandy."  The question she raised was this, will Governor Hickenlooper "get a bounce from the latest tragedy to hit the state -- massive flooding that has claimed at least eight lives?"  Now that is a very interesting question.  Not because I care or that it matters if Prince Hickenlooper gets a political boost from the flooding.  Who in his right mind cares what happens to politicians?  What matters about the question Lynn asked is the presupposition behind it.  Clearly Lynn believes that natural disasters are the health of executive branch career politicians.  Now why would that be so?
Her report goes a long way toward answering that question.  She continues by writing, "Just days after undergoing hip surgery, the Democratic governor -- crutches in tow and ignoring the pain -- boarded various helicopters to survey the flood damage, even rescuing survivors."  She writes as if the Prince actually did something  She writes as if he should receive the Purple Heart simply because he walked around on crutches and got on board a helicopter.  He used his executive privilege to do something we all would have liked to have done but were not permitted to do.  He boarded a taxpayer funded helicopter and flew around looking at the damage.  I bet that was pretty cool.  Not that any of us should glory in the suffering of others (I certainly do not) but we all must admit, if we are honest with ourselves, that the damage associated with natural disasters is amazing to look at.  Claiming that the Prince assisted in "rescuing survivors" is a bit of a stretch.  The fact that he was on board the helicopter when the cable inside the craft pulled people up to safety hardly classifies as participating in the rescues.  He no more rescued those people than he flew the helicopter.  But, when it comes to our Princes, stretching the story to make them appear heroic is the norm.
Lynn went on to write that, "In an 18 month  'come hell or high water' span, Hickenlooper has dealt with four fatal wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes and charred thousands of acres, a theater shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 injured, the assassination of his prisons chief and now the flood."  Could someone please explain to me how the Prince "has dealt" with any of these disasters?  He was not in the fires.  He was not in the movie theater.  He was not in the various flood plains that overflowed. He was not a guest in the prisons chief's home when he was murdered.   He was nowhere around any of these events and yet, somehow, we are now being told he has had to deal with them, whatever that means.  He is not involved in any legal issues related to any of the above disasters.  He is not being sued by anyone involved in the disasters.  He is not responsible to pay any of his funds to anyone involved in any of the disasters.  There is no reasonable way to assert that the Prince is in any way related to any of the items on the above list except for the fact that he is the Prince of Colorado and these things happened while he was on the throne.
The headline of the article said that the Prince "shines during crises."  He has only done two things during the various disasters that have taken place.  You can decide whether he is shiny.  First, he has appeared on television and radio talking about what happened.  He toured the places where the events took place.  He posed for photographs.  He made speeches about how brave the survivors were.  He shook hands and talked to people.  In other words, he was on the campaign trail.  That is what career politicians do, all the time.  He did absolutely nothing to aid the relief efforts.  He did  not help build any trails to the homes of people stranded by the floods.  He did not operate any heavy machinery to start rebuilding the roads.  He did not go into any house and clean out the sewage that had spilled into the basement.  Yet he gets credit for rescuing people.  Go figure.
The second thing the Prince has done is "kick and scream" for federal tax dollars.  He believes that citizens of this country who live in other geo-political zones called states somehow have a moral responsibility to pay for the damages done in this particular geo-political zone.  He has appealed to the King himself, asking him to take money from the citizens of other areas and give it to our Prince simply because we have had some fires and some floods.  Why that should be considered as exemplary moral behavior that causes him to shine is not explained.  How that makes the Prince "shine" is not described.
I am becoming increasingly accustomed to living in a land that has a royal caste.  I know the country was originally founded to repudiate a royal caste but there seems to be something inherent in sinful human nature that cries out for royal leaders who will give us promises of personal security in exchange for our freedom.  Almost nobody is able to resist the promises of these people, especially during times of highly publicized natural disasters,  and it is inevitable that a royal caste will be formed.  Prince Hickenlooper is a good prince.  He makes good speeches, makes people feel good about themselves, asks for money from the King to spend on us and gives good interviews on television.  I guess we should keep him.  Long live the Prince!