Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don't blame cities for rural violence

A New York Times story about the dangers of being a park ranger:

Two recent shootings of wildlife officers — one killed in Pennsylvania while confronting an illegal hunter, the other seriously wounded after a traffic stop in southern Utah — have highlighted what rangers and wildlife managers say is an increasingly unavoidable fact. As more and more people live in proximity to forests, parks and other wild-land playgrounds, the human animal, not the wild variety, is the one to watch out for.

“We’re seeing a little bit more of the urban spill into the wild spaces — city violence in the country,” said John Evans, an assistant branch chief of law enforcement operations at the National Park Service.

Cities surely have their problems with violence. But it's not Philadelphians (say) who are traipsing through the woods in the off-season, killing wildlife officers because they got caught poaching. Rural areas can -- and do -- generate their own violence. It's misleading for them to blame it on the cities.

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