The thoughts of a humble cattleman
Dear U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison,
The wife and I were sitting at the kitchen table tonight just after sunset discussing with some wonderment the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 just signed into law by the President.
He stated, magnanimously, that even though he had the power to detain (arrest) indefinitely, place in an internment camp and subject to a military tribunal any American citizen deemed a “terrorist” by him; he would never use those powers.
Now I realize that all of you (Barton, Cornyn, Hutchison) are probably younger than me.
So, I must remind you that after my 50 years of watching national travesties such as Social Security, welfare and income tax that it is not wise to leave these gates open.
For as I’ve learned, sooner or later all the cattle will figure out that the corral latch is undone and will stampede with inevitable destruction toward an open pasture.
Let me explain, if I may, why it’s best to think about unintended consequences.
I share my back pasture with what used to be a good neighbor. We had a gentlemen’s agreement to maintain and repair the co-owned fence by “first to notice — first to fix.”
Several years went by without any problems under this arrangement.
However, one spring a young bull of mine noticed the girls next door and as bulls are wont to do — walked through the fence to make a visit.
I didn’t notice the bull missing for a couple of days. When I went to uncover his whereabouts, I discovered the gaping hole in our mutual fence.
After taking an afternoon to make the necessary repairs, I called my neighbor to explain the situation.
He knew, as I did, that the location where the escape occurred was in the river bottom and that it would be impossible to round up any animal on foot because of the creek, mesquite and poison ivy.
I needed access with horses onto his property to drive my bull back home.
To my surprise, the neighbor I thought I knew so well suddenly became an irascible, unmovable and argumentative son-of-a-gun who refused to give me access to his ranch to retrieve my property (bull).
No amount of logic would persuade him toward long accepted and established cowboy etiquette. Ultimately pugilistic confrontation rather than cooperation became my neighbor’s attitude. I had no choice but to call the sheriff.
The sheriff and his men spent two full days on horseback looking for my bull. They never did find him.
My heretofore friend and neighbor denied any knowledge of that bull or his whereabouts.
I later learned that he had moved the bull late at night to another “no-accounts” corral where he was later sold with a mixed herd at auction. The money was split between the two worthless cowboys.
I’m afraid, Rep. Barton, Sen. Cornyn and Sen. Hutchison, that by voting in favor of this bill, you have let another bull go through a hole in the fence; that there will be the unintended consequence, someday, of an American citizen being corralled and his freedom auctioned off.
The wife and I have pretty much figured out by now that Washington is occupied by mostly “no account” cowboys who talk a lot of bull but intend to return nothing to their neighbors.