Fools Always Mess It Up For Everyone

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Some fool, always messes it up for everyone else.

Unfortunately — the fool often turns out to occupy a seat in the Legislature.

The sad tale of the wounded elk in a Payson neighborhood offers a couple of interlocking lessons bearing on restraint and responsibility.

The first set of lessons apply to whatever careless fool let loose an arrow at an all-but-domesticated elk in a quiet Payson neighborhood.

Born in Norm Langelier’s back yard, the young elk had lost all fear of humans. Someone with a hunting bow took advantage of that fact in an effort to turn an honorable sport into senseless — and dangerous — butchery.

However, the arrow passed cleanly through the young bull, which made its way unsteadily back to Langelier’s yard.

Now, we certainly have nothing against honest, well-regulated hunting. Hunters remain one of the few checks on the rapidly growing elk population in Arizona, culling huge herds and preventing a population explosion that would cause both environmental damage and eventual mass starvation in the winter. Hunters and anglers inject about $1.3 billion into the economy annually — enough to support an estimated 21,000 jobs.

Moreover, a wild elk killed in an ethical hunt undoubtedly lives a fuller, richer life than any factory-farm steer led to slaughter.

However, we also have little use for the kind of lazy, unskilled, unethical hunter that would stalk a semi-tame elk in a residential neighborhood and let loose an arrow — with no telling how many kids just out of sight. Moreover, no ethical hunter would inflict such a painful wound without tracking the animal and administering a clean death.

Unfortunately, we have more fools to account for than the knucklehead with the compound bow sneaking through the backyard swing sets. The efforts of neighbors to do something to prevent hunters from stalking their neighborhood turned up an astonishing fact: A couple of years ago the Arizona Legislature passed a law to prevent cities and towns from outlawing hunting within city limits.

Mind you, we’re talking here about the Legislature that routinely suffers fits on the topic of federal mandates, rules and regulations. The government closest to the people rules the wisest, rail these contradictory conservatives. And yet, these same officials routinely despoil the autonomy of local governments.

Alas, the case offers yet one more proof that the fool on the hill will always mess things up for everyone else. And that applies whether he’s a lazy lug with a compound bow or a hypocritical lawmaker clutching a bill written by some smirking lobbyist.

Greer did right thing

Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District Board Member Mike Greer did the right thing this week by resigning, after his mistake in using a district credit card to charge some personal items became a divisive issue.

We don’t yet know the full extent of his mistaken use of the card, although once the charges came to light he paid back $2,300 in personal charges.

But we know enough to lament the pain and stress and conflict the issue has spurred. Mr. Greer volunteered many long hours on behalf of his fellow citizens. He played a full and valuable role in securing enough water to lift the building moratorium that had for years blighted the prospects of the entire community. We suspect he made a series of well-intentioned mistakes, which have unfortunately over shadowed his service to the community — at least for the moment.

However, we’re also glad that the problems came to light — and hope his resignation will allow the district to refocus on the very important work that still lies ahead. The rules and laws that compel the government agencies to undertake audits and provide public documents upon request have helped create one of the least corrupt governments on the planet. This controversy provides a small case-in-point, should anyone wonder why the system we’ve built in the daylight of public disclosure works so much better than, let’s say, Afghanistan.

So we hope that residents can honor Greer’s service

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