The Uneducated City People at the Heart of Fractivism

DRBC fracking ban - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


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.

city people

Linda Rosenthal

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.

A coyote approaches a child in a schoolyard.

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.

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15 thoughts on “The Uneducated City People at the Heart of Fractivism

  1. This is without a doubt the greatest paragraph in Tom’s usual well – thought out article: “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 an idiot 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.” He has struck the essence of our plight in NY state. We in upstate are under the iron fist of a bunch of arrogant as well as ignorant individuals who control the politics in this state through their hopping and bobbing puppet, Andrew Cuomo. Little wonder that upstate NY is the leader in out – migration in the nation.

    • The Big Apple and its surrounding cesspool are awash in buffoons who believe food comes from the supermarket and fuel comes from the gas station.

  2. There are sports that city folks seem to enjoy that are far worse than hunting animals. For example, boxing. Why boxing is still legal is beyond my comprehension. Why is it legal to beat another human until he or she suffers physical damage up to brain damage? And why do people pay so much to watch this sort of brutality? If one beat any non-human animal that way, it is illegal and heavily condemned.

    • Richard, perhaps Coyotes are considered invasive in some portions of the nation now; but that is because humans first invaded their territory, reducing their historical habitat, forcing them to adapt. Many animal habitats evolve in this manner. I’m sure that if coyote’s had a human type intellect, they would advocate population reduction or even eradication of the invasive human population. : >).

      • The coyotes east of the Mississippi were introduced by humans trying to control the deer population in states where they had too many vehicle deer hits. I have trapped many coyotes and the only deer I have ever seen them eat was a small fawn and roadkill deer. Coyotes are prolific breeders and true nuisance animals, the answer for natural control would be to introduce timber wolves to the mix but I don’t see the human support for that either. Some coyotes I have trapped have been beautiful but not what you would call remotely friendly . They are also can carry rabies and are devastating to small pets. They will also obliterate indigenous fox populations.

        • Richard, I did not know that. Thanks for the information. This is yet another example of human kind trying to modify the natural environmentally balance and failing to consider the consequences. Humans seem to be really good at spreading invasive species (plant, animal, etc.) around the globe.

        • Yet another point, Richard. West of the Mississippi, Coyotes and Bobcats are increasingly found in urban areas. I’m sure these were not introduced by humans. They are just adapting to humans displacing them from their traditional range.

          • Not just west of the Mississippi will you find urban coyotes… they’re in Philadelphia and use the right of way of the SEPTA tracks to navigate about the urban environment. You’ll find info on this topic in various issues of Pennsylvania Game News.

  3. It’s not so much that Rosenthal is uneducated (she is), it is that she doesn’t care. The only thing she and most NYC Democrats care about is who participates in their elections. The only way for pro-fracking people, or anyone else she’s pissed off, to hurt her is in a Democrat primary. Form a PAC, get the list of registered voters from the BOE, and carpet bomb her district with mailings telling everyone to vote for her opponent. With turnout often in the single digits there is a good chance she would get the boot.

  4. If one lives in a sterile urban concrete and steel environment, of course one will begin to anthropomorphize all wildlife (give human traits to animals). By observation of the world we learn about it. I live in Chemung County. I drive five minutes to the woods to ride my motorcycle, my mountain bike, and shoot clay pigeons. I drive ten minutes to the launching site for my canoe for a two hour trip down the Chemung River. My friends hunt on my woods and fish in the river. My dog runs beside me when I ride in the woods. We deal with ticks, fleas, snakes, deer, bear, coyotes, wild dogs, raccoons, and mosquitoes most of the year. The Eagles and the Osprey soar above the Chemung River, nesting beside it (Eagles) or nesting in stands above it (Ospreys). In the woods outside of Elmira, we have a local a de facto comprised of farm land and woodlots. The woods and wilderness are indifferent to the utopian fantasies of humans. Observe, Adapt, Innovate, and share what you learn or be prepared to suffer the consequences. Those are the lessons that the urbanites not only miss, but will never understand. Not living in a sterile urban metropolis, I would never have the conceit that I would somehow know how to solve their problems. Perhaps the urbanites ought to check their own conceit at the Orange County western line.

  5. Over the past few decades a number of former downstaters have migrated to Central and Western NY. Unlike Ms. Rosenthal, these individuals have left that area for a number reasons, one of those reasons is to get away from people like: Ms. Rosenthal. These are people who appreciate Upstate as in the generic term, “Upstate” which depending from where you at is any place North of the Bronx borough line!
    From a socio-economic perspective, the downstate 14 counties are for the most part operate as a separate state. The remaining 48 counties should actually be considered “Upstate”.
    In the areas of Sullivan, Ulster and Dutchess and on south, you have have unique issues such as the problem plagued Metropolitan Transportation Authority, questionably run NYC DEP that manages the many reservoirs East and West of the Hudson as well as the sewer systems, housing costs and taxes that are about triple of what you pay from Schenectady to Buffalo. They exist in a completely different world and Ted Cruz was not far off about “NY values”.
    If there was a need to divide a state in this country, NY is definitely a candidate, especially along the lines suggested. It’s a win-win for both.

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