Monday, April 2, 2012

Ralph and the Lion

The Tulsa World editorial page beat me to it in the Saturday edition, but I have to weigh in about one of our Oklahoma reprehensives, I mean representatives, Sen. Ralph Shortey R. Oklahoma City. Under the headline: Open-carry Bill Advances, was the following quote:

“Wait until you get attacked by a turkey. You will know the fear that a turkey can evoke in a person. I started carrying a gun in my truck after that without a license because I didn’t want to get attacked by a mountain lion. Turkey’s are bad enough.”

Now I’m thinking, oh that Ralph, there he goes again. what a kidder. That is so funny. But after reading the entire article, I was amazed to find that Mr. Shortey said it with a straight face and was apparently sober at the time.

I know nothing about the frequency or severity of turkey attacks and had no idea just how dangerous they could be despite having several personal encounters in the wild. I would take a photo, say thank you Mr. Turkey, and move on with only a brief acknowledgement from Old Tom. Hard to imagine having to beat one to death with a stick to in order to save your life.

But a mountain lion attack? In Oklahoma? Seriously? Believe it or not, it has happened. In 2002 near Newkirk, OK a “large cat” ran into and knocked down Ms. Karina Jackson while out in a field looking for a lost puppy. "It felt like I got kicked by a horse or a cow,” she said. Deputies confirmed cat like scratches on the woman’s arm. However, there were no witnesses.

Sightings are not as uncommon in the Sooner state as you might think, but I could find no other records of cougar attacks (cougar, mountain lion, puma, same-same). So where does this put the likelihood of being mauled while strolling down a quiet Oklahoma country lane on a beautiful Saturday afternoon singin’ Zip a Dee Doo Dah? My guess is somewhere about the same as winning the recent $700 million plus lottery last Saturday night, or all of Ruth’s household cats suddenly disappearing, abducted by aliens in a UFO for the purpose of some kind of ghastly experiments. Unlikely yeah, but not impossible. And yet, despite the miniscule odds of a cougar attack, ol Ralph feels moved to support open-carry so that we can all emulate Marshall Dillon in Gunsmoke and walk steely-eyed down main street at high noon with big iron on our hip. While I fully support our right to bare bear arms, carrying heat in plain sight and in the public, seems a bit over the top in machismo.

As for Mr. Shortey, are he and his ilk typical of our state’s politicians, the very ones who make the numerous decisions that affect so many Oklahoman’s and our quality of life? Sadly, yes. Is it any wonder we Okies rank so low in so many categories? Gee.

A word of caution. When the open-carry bill passes, and it will, be sure to not make any feline moves or gobbling noises when ol’ Ralph is near. With guns a-blazin’, he will take you out.

(A turkey as seen by Mr. Shortey)

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