(Thomas Mitchell/4THST8) Since 90 percent of the land in Nevada is controlled by one or the other agency of the federal government, those of us who nominally control the other 10 percent — so long as we follow the zoning laws, pay our taxes, abide by a myriad of regulations and are not in the way of some powerful public or private entity’s plans for progress and profit — should strive to understand the mindset of those federal bureaucrats.
They are like demigods, but in their genesis there was no Adam and Eve. They are the lords over the wild, pristine and natural lands, but people are, well, unnatural, more of an infestation than a rightful part of the landscape.
Illustrative of this meme — pardon the use of the latest overused addition to the pundits’ lexicon, but it fits — is what is happening in Tombstone, Ariz. According to a website called OneNewsNow, the denizens of the town made famous by Hollywood’s portrayal of a 30-second gunfight are fighting the U.S. Forest Service over access to drinking water.
It seems a couple dozen mountain springs on Forest Service land were buried in mud after a fire a year ago. Get this, the federal government will not allow the town to repair the springs and the pipelines that bring the water to the town unless only horses and hand tools are used on all but two of the springs.
Meanwhile, the town must rely on a single water well, because all others are contaminated by arsenic and that single well is at risk.
Nick Dranias, director of something called the Center for Constitutional Government at the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, was quoted as saying the federal government has decided that “the sanctity of the mountains is more important than the lives and properties of the citizens of Tombstone. … And they’re effectively saying that the historic city of Tombstone is something they’re willing to sacrifice for nothing other than pure power-lust.”
Sanctity? Somehow bulldozers and backhoes will profane the dirt but a pick ax won’t?
Sounds like some kind of cobbled together animism run amok.
The Daily Caller quotes George Barnes, Tombstone’s city clerk and manager, about the fundamental law that is being twisted by the federal bureaucrats.
“We began working with the Forest Service but then we realized and found what an incredible boondoggle that could be, even though we are very confident we have a special status because our rights there pre-existed the Forest Service and even the BLM [Bureau of Land Management],” Barnes said. “We were there long before anything and all we are asking is to fix our stuff.”
The town now has a two-day supply of water, and that would dry up if there were a fire in one of the century-old wooden structures or a pump failure.
I have a suggestion for the Luddites at the Forest Service. If allowing machinery onto this pristine patch of heaven is such an affront to their sacred soil, all Forest Service rangers and employees should forgo air-conditioned pick-up trucks for horses and trade in their sidearms for small-caliber atlatls and bows and arrows. Swap those cell phones and radios for smoke signals. Then live off the sacred land and all that it provides — pine nuts, agave and the occasional lizard.
They should have to live by the same insane rules they impose on others or convert.