City people are invariably at the heart of all fractivist groups. They suppose, of course, we’re uneducated hillbillies but, in truth, they’re the ignorant.
Let me confess at the outset; my title and lede are intended to be provocative. I love my city friends and relatives. Moreover, I acknowledge the way so many of the city people who’ve moved to our area have enriched it in countless ways. Yet, I cannot ignore the sheer ignorance behind so much of what is fractivism and most of it comes from city people. That’s how we always referred to them when I was growing up. It’s not a term of endearment, but it’s not an insult either. It simply reflects the deep and wide abyss between city and country life.
Most will recall the tale about the country and city cousins. The country cousin tells the city cousin to be prepared for the most beautiful sound in the world when he awakes up in the morning on a visit to the country. But, when the city cousin wakes, all he hears are the damned birds. The story doesn’t resonate so much today. The city cousin has now assumed he knows it all, views his country cousin as a hillbilly and has taken on the noblisse oblige task of protecting the birds from his dumb cousin. Not only that, but he has also decided he know what’s best for the country cousin himself and that sure doesn’t include fracking.
All this came into sharp focus today when I read a story involving one of our guest bloggers, Jack Danchak, who happens to also be President of the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, New York. The story isn’t about fracking per se but, believe it or not, focuses on coyote hunting. It’s told by the Mid-Hudson News and here are the essentials:
The annual coyote hunt set to take place in February in Sullivan County is “a game of glory, designed to satisfy a blood-lust” to kill the wild predators. That assessment comes from State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a New York City Democrat.This is the 12th annual coyote hunt sponsored by the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County.
Rosenthal said that the hunt, where the winner who kills the biggest coyotes can win a raffled rifle, “is indefensible on any grounds” and she is opposed to it.
“There are plenty of humane ways to control populations that are considered nuisance or predator wildlife, but having a contest, a blood-sport, animal-killing spree is certainly not the most effective and safe nor humane way to control wildlife population,” she said.
The president of the Sportsmen’s Clubs Federation, Jack Danchak, said coyotes are vicious, predatory animals and the purpose of the annual hunt is to help reduce the population.
“Anybody in the country who is raising chickens, lambs, goats, sheep, they are in jeopardy, and God forbid if you have a child and you leave it in the backyard alone, who knows what these coyotes would do. They already have taken a jogger in Canada, a 28-year-old woman, attacked her and killed her.”
Assemblywoman Rosenthal lives on the Upper West Side, where she’s resided her entire life. It also appears she’s never had a real job doing anything other than politics, which is as unreal as it gets. Upper West side per capita income is over $95,000, about three times that of Sullivan County, so Rosenthal can be forgiven for not understanding life there. What can’t be forgiven, though, is her arrogance in supposing she not only knows, but has the secrets, about how it ought to be.
I haven’t heard any stories about Upstate Assembly members telling Upper West Siders how to live but, somehow, a story about Rosenthal lecturing the hunters of Sullivan County is deemed newsworthy. Would a story about an Upstate Assembly member lecturing Upper West Side folks on the way the City deals with rats in the sewer system get any attention? I doubt it.
Still, that’s beside the point. The real issue is what does Rosenthal know about coyotes and why does she think it’s just fine to “control” them but not to hunt them? Because she’s ignorant when it comes to country life, of course. She hasn’t got the slightest idea what a coyote is really like and she won’t care unless coyotes start invading the Upper West Side; at which point she’ll demand they be nuked.
I’ve seen coyotes up close while riding my horse and they’re nothing but mangy killers. They kill Bambi, in fact. Having a few of them around are useful, but too many is a problem. And, they do kill people. Here is the story of the folk singer Jack was talking about and here’s more, including this photo of a coyote approaching a child.
What irks Rosenthal, of course, is not the killing of the coyotes or even the hunting, but the fact some of her country cousins enjoy the hunting. She supposes she’s of superior morality, that she would not, and could never, enjoy the sport of killing animals. So, she lectures from behind the walls of some brick and steel building where nary a coyote will be found. She tells us we’re not entitled to enjoy the hunting. We must adopt her morality, distorted as it is by living in the belly of the beast known as Manhattan, where Native Americans once killed animals to survive.
A compulsion to impose her warped morality on others also accounts for Rosenthal’s opposition to fracking, of course. Like so many other city people uneducated in the ways of country life she knew just enough about it to be dangerous. The coyote story is a window into the opposition of city people to fracking and, therein, lies Upstate’s economic problem, because there’s more of them in New York than there are Upstaters. It’s really as simple as that.