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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

National security priorities

Politics

As long as some of us are talking about congressional districts in Louisiana, I thought I'd weigh in on serious national matters that get as close as Waukesha. Normal 0

It’s a comfort to know that despite its lame duck status, the Bush administration is taking care of some pressing last minute business: making sure that people won’t have to put their concealed weapons down even when taking a stroll in 387 of the 391 national parks.

On December 5, the US Department of the Interior overturned the Reagan administration’s ban on such weapons. For the past 25 years, if you were traveling through Yellowstone, you had to keep yours unloaded and stashed in the car, where it wasn’t likely to go off by accident or yield to the temptation to poach just a teensy little bit. Which is why they were banned in the first place.

I’m having a little trouble understanding why you need to carry concealed weapons in a national park. Where hunting’s allowed, you can carry guns loaded and prominently displayed. My guess, you don’t have to worry too much about the elk catching a glimpse of them in the back rack of your pick-up truck and sneaking away to safety.

Park rangers aren’t thrilled. Parks are pretty safe, but when someone gets attacked there by an animal of the human persuasion, it’s usually the ranger. That or the concealed weapon owner’s domestic partner. These are not any law enforcement officer’s favorite bits of business, and most rangers would rather deal with rogue bears. Probably, most city police officers would, too, if they had their druthers.

In Wyoming, guns were originally banned in the 1870s, and no one but poachers minded much. But I guess folks who are worried about all the urban criminals with unregistered guns along the Ice Age Trail and in the Apostle Islands can rest easier now.

You have to wonder, though, when these folks put the guns down. What do you do when you're in the shower and there's no place to conceal 'em?

And you have to wonder, too: just what is the president thinking? Bigger fish to fry and game to hunt now, metaphorically speaking anyway.

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