Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rock Robbers

A recent quickie commission to illustrate some warning signs around the island for people to not trash the beach and leave it alone enough for others to enjoy. The expression on the crab wound up being something in-between pissed-off and bummed out, which is why it now looks sorta psychotic (at least that will get some attention - which is the point). One of the subtle shifts in National Park Service philosophy that I've noticed that happens between Alaska and the Lower 48 is when rangers become tasked with making sure the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" don't inadvertently destroy everything in the stampede to recreation. In other words, crowd control. Which in Acadia, with an estimated 3 million visitors on the island last season (speaking of "wretched refuse of your teeming shore") means running constant interference against those who would literally love it to death. One might take the side of the sourdough sovereign and resist the intrusive reach of the evil federal government, or you could balance this against the fact that left to it's own devices, the human race will drown in its own shit. That is unless somebody is paid to occasionally wipe up afterward.

I remember (sort of) one year while out following the Grateful Dead around the Pacific North-West leg of a tour, getting taught a lesson on camping in the sequoias. We just decided to pull off the side of the road and crash, which is kind of a no-no in the Lower 48. After waking us up, a ranger looked at the Alaska plates on the VW microbus and drawled "Now I don't know how you folks do it up there, but down here we got RULES."


In a related incidence, there evidently looks to be some serious overstepping and abuse of said authority: a Park Service ranger drew guns on a 71 year-old river rat and threw him in jail for four days after an attempted boat-check on the Yukon. And that's putting it nicely. At the other extreme, Craig Medred lards up the hyperbole in the apparently editorless Alaska Dispatch:
“And if one of them gets stuck on the Yukon in late September, and passersby wishing to avoid being hassled by the Park Service, are trained to ignore signals for help, someone might end up trapped where he or she is until his or her cold, ...frozen body is finally found after freeze-up. If, of course, the body is found at all.”
Way to ramp up the rhetoric - Alaska’s burgeoning homegrown militia movement might have themselves a new cheerleader: according to Medred the Park Service is an “occupying army,” and their black-op baton-wielding (re: the accompanying photo) Nazi (re: "Now, I don't think the Park Service is the Gestapo" disingenuous crap) SWAT teams will raid your home and hold poor Granny at gunpoint. Ironically, this from a guy who took Sarah Palin to task after the Arizona shooting:

"But we all know what rhetoric can do.  Rhetoric can stir people to all sorts of action, both good and bad. That is the point of rhetoric. Words matter. Words can spawn all sorts of bad acts. And there is a national discussion underway about whether rhetoric -- rhetoric on the part of all of us with political opinions, which includes me, you and Sarah Palin -- might have played a role." - Medred 1/12/11
So I'm guessing that if a ranger gets shot in the Bush by someone all fired up by this call to armed resistance, Medred and the Dispatch will presumably then take at least some of the credit due. This is not to excuse the ranger's actions by any means, but given how much of a constant threat to their safety and welfare Park Service - or for that matter any Federal employees - has to deal with from belligerent and hostile "sovereign idiots" this sort of sensationalistic caricaturing doesn't help a damn bit. In my own opinion.

Case in point: now back in Fairbanks, there's a rally about this incident that also promotes the Feds as being Nazis - to the point of actually handing out "Gestapo" badges as prizes. I wonder if they will also offer swastikas, SS bolts, Death’s Head insignia or maybe a pink triangles as consolation prizes.
The prominent right-wing business owners of Compeau's and Seekins are emceeing this event: so the next time you want to buy a boat or a truck, remember how these guys equate Federal employees with being members of Nazi Germany's secret police (though they'll probably still take their money). Using the slaughter of millions to promote your ideology is a cheap shot, but apparently not below these opportunistic schmucks. 
Speaking of, Congressman Young and Senator Murkowski will also be there, rallying against, uh, well, their own employers and the only jobs they've ever really had. 
Presumably the Second Amendment Task Force will have an "issue booth" at the event, hopefully with a live feed from Schaefer Cox's cell.

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