Sacrificing For My Country

Most Americans are willing to sacrifice more than you might guess to help our country through this budget and debt crisis and to protect their grandchildren’s future.  Here are a few government “services” I am willing to give up for my country: 

  • I would be willing to forgo the millions of dollars’ worth of nutrition programs the USDA provides so that public schools can offer a better selection of broccoli to my children.  It would be difficult for me, as a parent, to have to give some thought to what meals my children eat and whether they are becoming obese from too many soft drinks, but for the good of the nation, I’d be willing to parent my own children – at least until we get out of this economic mess.  
  • I could learn to live without the EPA studies of the climate dangers caused by cow flatulence and maybe even that agency’s regulation of my own breathing.  Realizing that my breath and my love of beef may lead to yet another half-inch rise in the sea level over the next century, perhaps we could worry about this in another decade or two when the economic outlook is rosier.  
  • If absolutely necessary, I could manage without the Department of Education funding thousands of school district administrators across the nation.  I know the importance of every district having coordinators for special education, autism, behavioral problems, social engineering, political correctness, and curriculum “updating,” but because of the temporary economic downturn, I would be willing to let teachers and parents decide on their own how to run schools and implement important social objectives for now. 
  • I could try to go on without the Department of Energy giving massive grants to universities in every region to write research reports on the benefits of alternative energy and the dangers of fossil fuels.  Because there is no one left who does not already understand the evil of our modern consumptive life, maybe we could get by with our own efforts to modernize our lives, based on what is available, affordable, and desirable to us.  Perhaps we could rely, for now, on companies that provide energy, rather than bureaucrats and professors who study it.  
  • I could run my farm, if necessary, without the Labor Department dictating details of the relationship between me and my workers.  Because the workers all know where there are better jobs that pay more, they are pretty good at negotiating wages, hours, and working conditions with me.  If I don’t pay enough, they tend to go away, even without the Labor Department telling me exactly what that wage level is.  Therefore, this is a “service” I could sacrifice for the good of my country.  
  • I would be willing to give up the Interior Department’s work in managing endangered species for a while.  Because the department’s most routine activity in this regard is adding new species to the endangered list and then issuing “opinions” that warn people against activity in the regions where the species live, there is little activity that actually results in recovery of anything endangered.  Wildlife seems entirely unaware of all this activity, anyway; therefore, maybe we could all just stop killing endangered species for now and try to make such judgment calls without the aid of the Interior Department’s regulatory structure.  
  • Finally, I could – if pushed – figure out how to pay for the things I buy without the benefit of the pennies and dollar bills that government continues to mint and print by the billions each year.  Recognizing that pennies cost more than 1.5 cents to produce and that dollar bills last a few months while dollar coins last for years, I know these are “services” that cost millions each year unnecessarily.  I guess I could take time to look at my change long enough to distinguish between a dollar and a quarter, if it would help the country out of this mess. 

I know there are many more examples, and I speak for millions of my countrymen in offering to live with less of such services.  After all, we Americans are public spirited, not selfish.

I Want You – To Do My Job!

Friday’s Denver post featured an AP story about the catastrophic Arizona wildfires, mentioning the usually-taboo topic of the destruction of endangered species and their habitat. A good friend sent an email pointing out that “It’s ironic that litigation over Mexican spotted owls was the primary reason that forest management was shut down in Arizona,” while the Post article says, “now crown fires in overgrown forests have become the greatest cause of unusual losses for the birds.”

Ironic, you say? Ironic?!

One of the oddities in Endangered Species Act enforcement is the unequal treatment of public and private landowners. Government official are fond of pointing out that the vast majority of habitat for most endangered species is on private land. That’s because they want to force private owners to manage private lands for the benefit of the species, while officials smugly ignore the government’s own role in the loss of vital habitat.

The Mexican spotted owl is the latest poster child, of many.  As the AP article pointed out, 73 nest areas were destroyed by the latest fire – that is more than half of all the known nesting areas in that entire national forest. This is not an isolated or coincidental occurrence, either. In Colorado, the 1996 Buffalo Creek fire and the 2002 Hayman fire destroyed more than half the known Mexican spotted owl habitat in that State. The same fate befell the unfortunate California spotted owl over the past few years – fifteen identified owl sites incinerated in two 2005 fires on the Eldorado National Forest, and twenty more in that State’s 2007 Moonlight Fire.

What is truly fascinating is the government’s continued use of the spotted owl as a favorite tool, not for recovery of the owls, but for stopping human activity – even activity that would improve the habitat!

When the Fish and Wildlife Service designated the official “critical habitat” for the Mexican spotted owl in 2004, it said “Forests used for roosting and nesting often contain mature or old-growth stands with complex structure. These forests are typically uneven-aged, multistoried, and have high canopy closure.” In other words, they need healthy forests with trees of varying ages, not single-age stands, and certainly not dead forests. The agency said the two primary threats to the continued existence of the species were “even-aged timber management,” and catastrophic wildfires. The Forest Service has done nothing about either problem since that document was written, so the problem is worse than ever.

The Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges that the deaths of vast tracts of forest, caused by bark beetles, are at least partly responsible for the “alteration of habitat.” And the recovery plan called for action to head off that growing disaster: “Clearly, forest management that decreases forest density, primarily by thinning from below, will help to control populations of some of these organisms.”

So given these fairly obvious circumstances, what has the government done to thin the forests and restore healthy stands of multi-aged trees? Nothing. Instead, managers have steadily eroded the Forest Service’s budget for any and all timber activities, and spent billions on other “missions,” such as trails, campgrounds, research, studies, green job creation, climate change, and grant programs.

It is unclear how many spotted owls may actually have been killed by these giant wildfires – in fact the government has no idea how many there are, how many there ever were, or whether their population is increasing or decreasing. Nor is there any definition of what population would constitute recovery of this threatened species.

What is very clear is that the owls will continue to be used as an excuse to regulate and limit forest thinning, recreation, oil and gas exploration, and grazing. It is equally clear that any private landowner who purposely took action – or refused action – that resulted in the death and destruction of hundreds of spotted owls would be in deep trouble.

When I headed the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, I once thought the State should simply sue the federal government for failing to manage forests in a manner that would protect the habitat of the spotted owl (and numerous other endangered species). Such a lawsuit would certainly draw attention to the government’s own culpability in the species’ decline, and perhaps begin to apply the same standard to public land managers as to private.

Then-Attorney General Ken Salazar was reluctant to file that suit at the time, pointing out the difficulty in holding a government agency accountable for not taking some action. Maybe he was right. I am not a lawyer, but if you ask me – and any number of owls – lack of action is action.

Maybe Uncle Sam should point that finger at himself once in a while.

Change the Words, Not Your Mind

Government no longer “spends your money.”  It “invests in your future.” 

 If, despite that clear distinction, you still don’t feel good about multi-trillion-dollar deficits, it’s because you must understand one of the most important techniques in the art of debate – when you’re losing, change the terms.  Successful politicians must master that art if they want to push unpopular policies.  If “illegal alien” sounds bad, change the words to “undocumented workers.”  If “estate tax” sounds OK to people who have no “estate,” call it the “death tax” and it affects everyone who might eventually die.  A simple change in terms often changes the outcome of debates, legislative votes, and even elections.

Changing the words is a long and proud tradition in the world of conservation, too.  That’s how national forest timber management became “below-cost timber sales” and “logging old growth,” the result of which was an almost complete end to active forest management (and today’s dead and dying forests).  That’s also how vast tracts of public lands became “the last great places,” which must be protected from public use.  It is a technique both sides practice regularly, but that doesn’t make it any more honest or less cynical.

One of the great examples is being played out in today’s debate over global warming.  As average global temperatures leveled off in the past decade, “global warming” became “climate change,” since that includes both warming AND cooling.  As more recent scientific research makes the causes of climate changes less certain, an increasingly skeptical public has begun to shy away from “solutions” that seem harsh, expensive, or difficult.  Thus, Congress could not muster enough votes to pass the proposed cap-and-trade bill several years in a row, and the effort now appears dead.

Not to be deterred, however, advocates have resorted once again to the tried-and-true technique of changing the terms.  It has become unpopular in a time of spiking gas prices to propose the ban on drilling for oil and gas that many environmental activists actually want.  They recognize that an end to the use of fossil fuels to power our economy is simply not achievable in the foreseeable future.  That’s why they have tried for several years to convince the public that our use of natural resources to create prosperity is evil, and that our pursuit of the good life is destroying the planet.  But we all learned about carbon dioxide in school science classes, and we certainly do not intend to stop exhaling.  That is why it is now known as a “greenhouse gas” – because “emitting” any “gas” sounds like something we should stop doing.   It is a debate such advocates are losing in the court of public opinion, for several reasons:

  •  There is a limit to how much Americans can pay for gas, heat, and electricity;
  • Many people are no longer convinced of a direct link between their use of energy and any catastrophic change in the Earth’s climate;
  • Revelations about fraudulent manipulation of scientific data has damaged the credibility of man-made global warming alarmists;
  • The economic recession has “cooled” Americans’ willingness to raise taxes, hinder businesses, and slow job creation – for any reason.

Does this mean advocates of a cap-and-trade policy will give up the effort?  Of course not.  It means they will change the terms, and that effort is well underway now.  Witness the new desire on the part of state and federal administrations across the country to adopt policies that promote “clean energy.”  What exactly is “clean energy?”  At the risk of stating the obvious, it means energy that comes from sources other than oil, gas, coal, methane, biomass, biofuels, nuclear, shale, tar sands, hydropower, or any source that requires pipelines, power lines, or other infrastructure (can we use wind and solar power without power lines?).  In a nutshell, it means we should stop using so much energy.  It means the same thing all the previous debates meant, just with different words.

Expect to hear the term “clean energy” repeated across the political landscape non-stop for the next several years.  Experts know that repetition is the key to successfully changing the terms of a debate.  As Berkeley Professor George Lakoff advises liberals, “Repetition of such articulations is the key to redefining these words…” 

The Republican “Word Doctor” Frank Luntz explains the importance of repetition: “There’s a simple rule: You say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and then again and again and again and again, and about the time that you’re absolutely sick of saying it is about the time that your target audience has heard it for the first time.”

That is why the debate of the next few years will be about “clean energy.”  It is a legitimate debate, so long as everyone knows exactly what it is really about.  Just remember, the story you are about to see is true; only the names have been changed to protect the political agenda.

A Bored Walk Down Perk Place

Members of the Washington, D.C. City Council and several activist groups continue their tired push for statehood, claiming the city’s residents are entitled to two U.S. Senators, and pretending the founders had no reason to put the Capitol in a district that was not part of any state.

This week the Council debated new welcome signs for roads entering the District from Maryland.  In addition to the traditional “Welcome to Washington, D.C.,” some members propose replacing “The Nation’s Capitol” with cutesy slogans like “Unrepresented in Congress for over 200 years” or “Enjoy your stay and join our fight for statehood.”  Last year D.C. began issuing license plates emblazoned with the motto “Taxation Without Representation” – as if Congress has never paid any attention whatsoever to the needs of Washington, D.C.

The latest publicity scheme calls for renaming a portion of Pennsylvania Avenue –  the Nation’s Main Street – to call attention to the statehood demand.  A website set up by council members to solicit public suggestions produced such uninspired gems as “Statehood for DC Avenue” and “DC Demands Full Democracy Avenue.”

 All of this noise about Congressional representation for D.C. ignores several important facts and principles.

First, Washington, D.C. is a city, not a state.  It has neighborhoods, not counties.  Its politics are monolithic and its people share the same interests – including an interest in subsidizing everything they do with tax money from the rest of the country.

Second, Washington enjoys greater representation in Congress and all federal agencies than any other part of the United States.  The D.C. metro area has about 5.4 million residents, including 4 U.S. Senators and 5 Congressmen who live in its suburbs – and the other 530 Members of Congress and over 3,000 presidential appointees who spend most of the year there.  Any idea that the needs of Washington, D.C. have no voice in government would be laughable, if it were funny.

Third, Washington, D.C. is actually closer to “representation without taxation” than the other way around.  Consider that Congress subsidizes D.C. government to the tune of ¾ of a billion dollars every year – in addition to the taxes paid by residents – and the D.C. delegate in Congress sits on the Appropriations Committee to see that the money gets earmarked to all her favorite projects.  Last year America’s taxpayers spent $768 million on D.C. projects such as a $35 million Tuition Assistance Grant program, new charter schools ($62 million), homeless shelters ($19 million); a local sewer project ($20 million), $100,000 each for the Whitman Walker Clinic and the Youth Power Center, and $50,000 to fund upgrades at a Washington hospital.  These annual subsidies, of course, tell only a fraction of the real story, especially considering the tens of billions spent to build the city itself – and it is not built with cheap materials.  What other city can afford to eschew concrete, building its sidewalks of brick and its curbs of granite?  Where else are daily commuter roads maintained by the National Park Service, or traffic enforcement provided by U.S. Capitol Police?  Washington is a beautiful city with parks, open spaces, fountains, plazas, circles, and magnificent architectural masterpieces – all built by the entire nation’s taxpayers.

Fourth, the founders understood exactly why the seat of government could not be part of any State, as it would provide an automatic advantage to residents of that State.  In the sectional disputes that characterize a giant country – disputes that are as common today as in 1790 when Washington was founded – the balance of power is delicate and it is important.  Diluting the representation of all the other states to give a single city even greater hold – over a country it already dominates – would be a colossal mistake.

Finally, residents of the District have a much simpler choice.  If the issue is really about a vote in Congress as they claim, the easy fix is to give the non-federal part of the city back to Maryland (from which it was originally carved out).  That would almost certainly gain one additional congressional district for Maryland.  The Virginia portion of the original 10 square-mile tract was given back to that state more than 100 years ago, and that solution would still work today.  But if you suspect another agenda is at work, you’re right.  What is really at stake is nothing more than a partisan attempt to stack more Democratic votes in the U.S. Senate, which would be the result of statehood (for D.C. and also for Puerto Rico, another perennial proposal).  Like FDR’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court 75 years ago, it is an attempt to thwart the will of the people and the spirit of the Constitution.

The United States already include several historical quirks.  For instance, Rhode Island is essentially a county, separated from Massachusetts Bay Colony because of religious differences between Roger Williams and the Puritans.  And West Virginia was separated from Virginia in complete violation of the U.S. Constitution during the Civil War because of strong Union sentiments there.  But no such national catastrophe plagues modern-day residents of the nation’s capitol.

In fact, D.C. residents have no desire to give up the many perks of living in Washington, from the right to in-state tuition at colleges in every state to the heavily subsidized subway system.  If they seek a more appropriate name for Pennsylvania Avenue, they ought to consider calling it Perk Place.  Then residents can pass GO, collect $200, and ponder the benefits of living in a world-class city built by the hard work and tax money of the entire rest of the country.

Lies, Damned Lies and Campaign Ads

There is nothing new about nasty campaign ads, but people across America express increasing disgust with negative tactics that often leave voters with no good choices.  Tired of voting for the “lesser of two evils,” voters would rather feel proud to support public officials they like.  Sadly, after year-long campaigns that saturate radio and TV with negative messages about candidates, many voters tell pollsters they simply hold their nose and cast a vote they are not proud of, because the alternative was worse.

I am a product of the political system that uses negative ads “because they work.”  My 2004 campaign for Congress in Colorado’s 3rd District was the top targeted House race in America that year, with over $8 million spent by candidates, parties, and especially outside interest groups – nearly all of it on negative messages.  My campaign was both victim and perpetrator of the nasty, negative, and misleading ads that form most modern campaigns.  More than one voter threatened me, “If I hear one more of those stupid commercials, I’m voting for no one!”  Every candidate hears similar frustrations.

Voters who make that threat rarely mean it.  Although they know many of these ads are over-the-top, the negative images clearly have an effect, as any pollster will attest.  Candidates not only monitor their popularity ratings, but also their “negatives” – the number of people who will not vote for them because of some negative perception, often created by ads financed by their opponent, or by outside interest groups.  Yet these frustrated voters may be onto something more substantive than they realize – an actual solution to the problem.

Thousands of private organizations print ballots for officers that include “none of the above,” but very few governments do so (among States, only Nevada).  Robert’s Rules of Order require that these votes be counted to determine the total number of votes cast, to ensure the winner received a majority of the eligible votes.  But if “none of the above” wins, there is no generally accepted procedure.  In Nevada, the next closest vote-getter is declared the winner.  But what if such a result actually required a new election?

Think about this: if both political parties knew their candidates might be so damaged by nasty ads that neither could win, they might be more hesitant to sink to such depths.  A sort-of “mutual assured destruction” system might emerge, in which neither side wanted to be first to “go negative” with their campaign messages, knowing the other side would respond in-kind and thus dangerously lower public opinion of both candidates.  Both parties seek to nominate their best, and would be loath to see them destroyed, lest they have no better choice on deck.

“None of the above” could be more than just a wasted symbolic vote.  Since our government derives its power “from the consent of the governed,” it would be an actual refusal by voters to be governed by either candidate.  Numerous other writers – from the Wall Street Journal to Ralph Nader – have advocated a “none of the above” choice, but it has generally been amusingly viewed as a solution without a problem.  But for those who think negative advertising has diminished our democratic process, perhaps there really is a serious reason to consider that option.

The Clothes Have No Emperor

The Deepwater Horizon accident and the resulting oil leak is a tragedy on many levels, costing the lives of 11 workers, displacing hundreds of others, costing an entire region jobs and tax revenue, and beginning an environmental catastrophe that will take years to heal.  Watching the reaction of politicians, business leaders and the media has made the whole spectacle worse, if that’s possible, and prompting many to wonder, “Who is in charge?”

  • Is it Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who inelegantly announced that with his boot on the neck of BP, if they couldn’t stop the leak soon he would push them aside and do so himself (but after 2 months has still not done so)?
  • Is it White House Environment Czar Carol Browner, who told a press conference that while BP was doing the actual work, “we are in charge” (but who cannot make a decision between contradictory environmental laws)?
  • Is it the President, who criticized Salazar for using harsh words, and then said he was meeting with experts to find out “whose ass to kick” (but who thus far has been content with reorganizing a minor agency, changing its name from MMS to BOE)?
  • Is it the congressional committee members who spent an entire day yelling at BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward, while continuing to ban drilling at easier locations throughout the United States?
  • Is it the news media, where in-depth investigative reporting has focused mainly on oily pelicans, the President playing golf, and the BP chief executive watching yacht races?
  • Is it BP, whose experts after 2 months cannot find a way to stop the leak, but refuse outside assistance (even from noted Hollywood oil spill experts like James Cameron and Kevin Costner)?

 Sadly, the honest answer is: no one is in charge.  Lots of politicians are wearing the clothes of power, but where is the emperor?  Who is making decisions on what technology to try next, whose expertise to ask for, or how to streamline the bureaucracy and get decisions made?  Alas, no one.

Consider that environmental laws have stopped the use of chemicals that disperse the oil slick because such “dispersants” are harmful in other ways.  At the same time, burning the oil while it’s still floating at sea has been used only very sparingly because of the impact on air quality standards.  Similarly, the sand berms that might stop the oil from reaching wetlands and beaches (requested by state governors) were stopped for weeks because that requires an extended permitting process.  Morning news shows have featured dozens of products (from specialized foam to sawdust) touted for their ability to soak up oil, all of which have been referred to a BP committee that has received over 65,000 suggestions, but apparently can’t decide whether to use any of them.

Here is the problem: spilling oil is illegal; allowing oil to wash up on shores is illegal; burning oil at sea is illegal; dumping sawdust or foam into the ocean is illegal; dumping piles of sand into the ocean without permits is illegal; and the use of large quantities of chemical dispersants is illegal.  Believe it or not, this is a common problem with our nation’s environmental laws.  You can’t have a pile of old tires or batteries on your property – and you are not allowed to dispose of them.  This contradictory mess of well-meaning regulations results in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t quandary.  In many instances it actually hurts the environment.  But in a catastrophe of this magnitude, it is inexcusable.

Someone, somewhere, needs to take charge and make it clear that the nation will do whatever it takes to stop this leak, stop the oil from reaching the shore, and clean up the mess that’s already out there.  Someone needs to make a clear decision on how and where America will get the energy upon which its economy absolutely depends.  Someone needs to decide to allow drilling where it is easier, cheaper, and fixable when something goes wrong.

We hear strong words about this every day.  But instead of making such vitally important decisions and taking whatever heat comes with it, our political leaders are rearranging the desks of minor bureaucrats and posturing to see who can appear toughest on TV.  The “never waste a crisis” mentality has provided the impetus to stop all drilling (as if that is any answer), perhaps hoping Americans will stop driving cars if the price of gasoline goes high enough.

Just to make sure that happens, Congressional leaders have slipped a massive oil tax increase into the current tax “extenders bill.”  Hidden on page 138, the proposed language would raise taxes on oil from 8 cents a barrel to 49 – an increase of 612 percent!  If nobody notices the tax increase, Americans will simply blame BP when the price of gas at the pump goes up.  And that is politics, not leadership.

Plenty of people in politics wear the clothes of power and surround themselves with the trappings of government authority.  Is there an emperor in there somewhere?  A good friend once compared Washington, D.C. to a log floating down the river with a thousand tiny ants – every one of whom thinks he’s steering.  Who really is?

Lassie Lynx Come Home!

The government says lynx won’t cross a road, a pipeline, or a ski area.  But mountains, rivers, and plains don’t seem to be a problem.

In 1943 “Lassie Come Home” was an international box-office sensation, a Technicolor tear-jerker about the long, difficult journey home of a dog separated from his owner by hundreds of miles of wild country, bad weather and mean men.  They’re still making sequels, story books, and TV shows 60 years later.  But Lassie’s dramatic journey into the hearts of millions was nowhere near as impressive as the recent trek home of a Canadian lynx named “BC-03-M-02” – and Hollywood didn’t even notice.

Maybe the Colorado Division of Wildlife could have found more marketable names when some 200 Canadian lynx were introduced into the State as a way to recover an extinct population in the Southern Rockies (hindsight is always 20-20).  Movies, books, and TV shows could have highlighted the incredible achievements of these amazing animals – and “BC-03-M-02” would not have been the only star.  His accomplishment should be legendary by now: he was captured near Kamloops, British Columbia in 2003, brought 1,350 miles to Southern Colorado and released into the wild to find his own way.  And he did.  Tracked by a radio collar every step of the way, he settled in, ate well, found a mate, and sired at least two litters of kittens before disappearing off the radar in 2007.

No one was surprised when he vanished.  Numerous other lynx in this experiment had died: a few starved to death, several were shot by mean men, a few hit by cars, and some turned up dead for no apparent reason – perhaps some just lost the will to live with so much regulation and government meddling.  But many others established large territories and wandered brave distances, to the everlasting embarrassment of the U.S. Forest Service.  That agency had claimed these remarkable cats would only eat snowshoe hares, so their population would rise and fall with the rabbits – but these lynx eat snowshoe hares, other rodents, squirrels, prairie dogs, birds, and even an old lady’s dog in Durango.  The government said ski areas would destroy lynx habitat – but one of the cats actually lived on a ski slope through an entire winter season and apparently enjoyed it.  The government said lynx couldn’t live further south than Colorado – but several have moved to New Mexico, apparently unaware of the state line.

Most shockingly, the Forest Service said lynx would not/could not cross open areas greater than 100 yards; they would only survive in dense forests where there were no people – but no one told the lynx.  Thanks to radio collars, the real behavior of these animals is now well documented.  Some crossed the San Luis Valley, one was recaptured after crossing the Great Plains to Wakeeney, Kansas, and several have been tracked north across Wyoming and even Montana.  But the Oscar goes to lynx “BC-03-M-02,” which had not vanished forever, but literally trudged all the way back to Canada – without a GPS system.

The cats have survived well in Colorado, despite the stubborn existence of towns, roads, vehicles and 5 million people.  The Forest Service theories were not based on science, of course, but on their desire to use lynx as an excuse to halt ski area expansion, close roads, ban snowmobiles, stop logging, mining, oil and gas exploration, and grazing. 

We brought lynx back to Colorado for a simple reason – environmental decisions ought to be based on science, not political agendas.  People can argue about the desirability of snowmobiles, ski areas, ranching, logging and energy production – arguing is recreation for westerners.  But those disputes are not really about the lynx – they continue to eat, sleep, drink, and make kittens, as if completely unaware of this flurry of activity on their behalf.  The poor animals are simply caught in the cross-fire because of the awesome regulatory power of the Endangered Species Act, the biggest tool in the toolbox for stopping human activity.  So in Colorado we decided to recover the species, so they would no longer be threatened – nor would our use of the national forests.  Today, Colorado’s healthy lynx population is among the great success stories in the history of conservation, though the government can’t admit it.

The classic tragedy in this story is lynx “BC-03-M-02.”  He made the amazing expedition of over 1,200 miles, but almost within sight of his destination back in Kamloops, he was caught and killed by a trap near Nordegg, Alberta on January 28, 2010.  Only a couple reporters have noted the significance of that journey, but there is still time for Hollywood to catch up.  The good news, of course, is his two litters of kittens – at least 6 in all – whose existence provides hope for the first of many sequels: “Son of BC-03-M-02.”