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The Truth, Mainly - 05/08/1995

Predators answer turkey's call

In these twitchy times, we might be instructed by the story in last Sunday's paper about the wild turkey hunter and the bobcat. It went like this:

Carl Messner was making gobbling noises with his turkey call in the hills northeast of Falls City, hoping to attract a turkey. What he attracted instead was a predator—a bobcat with mayhem on his mind. The bobcat jumped Carl in mid-gobble, ripped up his camouflage jacket, then ran away.

Although the newspaper was silent on the question, I'd guess Carl took it as a compliment to his turkey-calling ability. At any rate, he didn't seem offended that his gobbling had attracted a predator.

That's what makes him different from the right-wing crazies in this country.

They've been making turkey noises for a long time, and now a predator—perhaps in answer to their call—has blown up the federal building in Oklahoma City, thereby setting off a reaction that's made the crazies cranky.

When President Clinton suggested there might be a connection between the gobbling and the bombing, a lot of his opponents, not all of them right-wing crazies either, accused him of playing politics. Which is like accusing Michael Jordan of playing basketball. Playing politics is what politicians do.

Of course, we don't know yet who blew up the building. It may have been someone who never heard the gobbling about how the federal government is our enemy, how it's subverting the Constitution by taking away our grenades and machine guns and rocket launchers, how it's about to turn us all over to jack-booted UN bureaucrats who will send their black helicopters to make sure that we all bow down to the Zionist Occupational Government to have the biochips implanted in our buttocks.

Maybe there's no connection at all.

But it's not unreasonable to suspect there might be. And if you're the President, it's not unreasonable—some would say it's finally Presidential—to speak out about your suspicions, especially if your point is to urge those of us who disagree with the crazies to exercise our Constitutional right to say we disagree. That was called leadership when Ronald Reagan did it.

The crazies are cranky because they know that the most ruinous thing that can happen to their revolution is to have some predator take it seriously. Seriously enough to say "If the federal government is the enemy, then let's blow us up a federal building."

That's when all the fun goes out of the revolution.

Left-wing crazies learned that back in the sixties. They'd smoke a little dope and talk about how CIA and FBI infiltrators were bumping into each other in the protest marches, and about how The People were on the cusp of rising up and overthrowing the Pentagon, and hey, check out that chick over there. They'd wear funny clothes, grow hair that offended their parents, not trust anyone over 30, and make love not war. Then, tired by their exertion, they'd fall into a blissful slumber and dream of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

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But it stopped being fun when a predator took their revolutionary talk seriously enough to blow up a University of Wisconsin math building in 1970. Right-wing crazies in the nineties—"boys with toys" Sen. Kerrey calls them—get stoned on their guns, put on funny war clothes that probably offend their parents, go out in the boondocks to pull their triggers, watch out for black helicopters, belch, scratch, pee on trees, and interpret the Constitution. Then, tired by their exertion, they fall into a blissful slumber and dream of AK 47s. They have fun too.

But now a building has been blown up in fact, not just in theory, and about 180 people are in fact dead and some of them are in fact babies and it's all been on TV for the whole world to see. And no matter who did it, being a nineties crazy isn't much fun any more.

Because when the whole world starts listening to the gobbling, the crazies run the risk of being ridiculed for their paranoia, their illogic, and their presumption that they know better than anyone—constitutional historians, legal scholars, Supreme Court justices—just what the Constitution really means.

And when some of them suggest that Bill and Hillary are behind the bombing and that the dead babies are the federal government's fault because the federal government shouldn't have a day-care center in a war zone, they run the risk of being considered not just delusional but downright dangerous.

Since the bomb went off, some of them have said that's not what they meant at all; that wasn't it at all.

But the others just keep gobbling. And the rest of us get twitchier and twitchier and hope they remember what Carl Messner learned: that predators put at risk what they are attracted by.


Satterfield is a college professor and writes as a means of discovery.


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