On cops, deer, pickles, elf, the U.S. mule, etc

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Mar 29, 2001 12:00 AM
A potpourri of comments on topics from here and there.... The new seven-year agreement between the Postal Service and Federal Express for FedEx to fly the PO's priority, express and first-class mail amounts to nothing less than the postal people's admission - after 226 years - that the private sector is, in fact, more efficient than the government in getting the important stuff through. If in 1997 (the last year for which data are available) the number of children killed in motor-vehicle accidents was 1,783, while the number of children killed in firearms accidents was 48, would licensing firearms to the extent we license motor vehicles contribute to an increase or decrease in accidental firearms deaths of children? An environmental group calling itself the Earth Liberation Front (ELF - get it?), threatening in Mount Sinai, N.Y., that "if you build it we will burn it," has claimed responsibility for the burning of three luxury houses under construction on a former Long Island farm. Where is the environmental establishment's disavowal of such immoderate and confrontational groups as extreme? A Knoxville woman has sued McDonald's for serving her a hamburger with a too-hot pickle, which fell on her chin, caused her physical and mental pain, and denied her husband (as he says in a companion suit) "the services and consortium of his wife" - whatever that means. Together, they seek $125,000. Is this a great country, or what? Charleston, South Carolina's distinguished police chief, Reuben Greenberg, has it right: "Most police chiefs (and) sheriffs that I know tell me their problem is not officers stopping people on the street for no reason. ... They say their problem is getting officers to stop anyone for any reason whatsoever." Virginia's game and highway officials are experimenting with a system of doodads intended to reflect automobile headlights into wooded areas to scare deer away from roads - and thereby reduce the state's 25,000 car-deer accidents per year. It recalls the ineffective bumper whistles of a generation ago. A better idea, repeated here for perhaps the hundredth time: Increase deer takes annually by a factor of 10 for 10 years, and require that the surplus meat above existing levels be given to the poor. Before running for Congress from Texas, House Whip Tom DeLay - detested as perhaps no other by the DeeCee hive - was a pest exterminator. In case you've got an unrelieved itch, National Geographic reports that male mosquitoes live seven to 10 days, while females live as long as 30 - unless they get an early swat. At a recent White House meeting, Archbishop John Favalora of Miami introduced himself as a representative from Florida, "which I know is near and dear to your heart." Quipped President Bush: "I am about to name my brother (Florida Governor Jeb Bush) the ambassador to Chad." Retired Army officer Ralph Peters, in The Wall Street Journal: "Saddam Hussein, Mohammad Farah Aideed, Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic, Laurent Kabila and Foday Sankoh - our gallery of interlocutors is a hall of shame. To save effort, (under Clinton) we bargained with butchers, and the blood they shed is on our hands, too. By downing one dictator, by deposing a single warlord, we might have set an example that would have made all the others think twice. Instead, we elevated the stature of men who destroyed states and slaughtered their fellow citizens. Mass murderers do not reform; they just rearm. And those who shake the hands of tyrants become their accomplices."