Paoching furor should be calmed
November 25, 1999
To the Editor,
Three of the four young men identified by a responsible citizen as perpetrators have been convicted for unlawful taking of wildlife. The fourth is still on the run.
And the people behind the whole mess are still out there picking and grinning. It’s time to let the horse die and get on with the important things in life, like making sure our own yards are clean. All three young people will have to spend time in jail from six months to one year; all three will have to pay enough fines to buy a whole herd of beef; two will have to pay for the reward to a “responsible citizen” who, understanding and recognizing public duty and responsibility, did the right thing.
Judge Thompson was fair and impartial in handing down the sentences he did. I appreciated his comment regarding his lack of “warm fuzzies for the deer and antelope.” I also appreciate his compassion for allowing a young man with a severe learning disability to finish high school before doing his jail time. Mike Lassotta and Jim Osborne have done an outstanding job defending two young people, who were guilty, by public opinion, before they even went to trial, and David Waite … well he was just himself.
I don’t fault the Colorado Division of Wildlife boys for doing their jobs; if they would pursue the local elite professional poachers with the same fervor with which they pursued this high-profile case, perhaps our local merchants wouldn’t be crying the blues over lost revenues (hey, that rhymes, maybe someone should write a song).
I will use this forum to make a promise to the citizens of Craig, Moffat County and Northwest Colorado: If you decide to poach anything, even an egg, and I hear about it, see you do it or even think you’re doing it, I’ll turn you in. My name will not be “responsible citizen.” It will be right on the complaint form they use to lock you up. And when your families start receiving telephone death threats, say eight to 10 a week, from drunks using pay phones in the local bars, who through ignorance or cowardice refuse to identify themselves, I’ll sympathize with you and say, “Gee, the citizens of Craig and Moffat County wouldn’t do anything like that.” Then I’ll say, “Welcome to the real world.” Any reward money that might be paid will be donated to the Abused and Battered Humans Facility in Craig, because people are more important than animals.