Mountain Sharks and Other Hazards

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Once, as a boy, I saw the movie Jaws. Since then, I’ve avoided swimming in the ocean or even living within a thousand miles of the ocean, so you can imagine how my own phobias have been renewed given the plight of that little boy who got good and chewed up by some infernal fish off the gulf coast.

While we don’t have much of a problem with sharks up here at 6,000 feet, we do have some large carnivorous mammals that can be a problem. Fortunately, most of them have been hunted into submission by farmers and families who don’t care for having their children and their livestock eaten by bears and mountain lions. You can imagine my irritation, then, when I recently witnessed a bunch of environmentalists and Leftist city-folk whining about how there aren’t enough wolves and grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountains. I suppose it never occurred to them that the reason there aren’t a whole lot of those animals around anymore is because they are quite useless animals to human prosperity. We’ve managed to confine them to places like Yellowstone national park and Glacier National Park up in northern Montana because they make life quite unpleasant for human beings.

Wolves will eat sheep, cows, dogs, cats, and small humans like little Tommy if hungry enough. Grizzly bears will eat almost anything big and meaty and have a bad habit of ripping to shreds human beings who happen to get in their way. If you’ve ever met a grizzly bear odds are good that you’re now missing half your face if you were lucky enough to escape with your life. Now, environmentalists are proposing that grizzlies be introduced to large parts of Wyoming and that Wolves be introduced to vast areas of Colorado. Naturally, the proponents are once again showing off their disdain of human beings by noting without a trace of irony that increasing the range of grizzly bears and wolves will lead to only a very small loss of human life. I’m sure grandma won’t mind the loss of few limbs the next time you take her camping. After all, it will be for the sake of those "majestic" animals.

Out in my hometown, mountain lions and coyotes frequently chow down upon family pets. (Coyotes who hang around horses have a tendency to get shot .) It’s a constant problem. It’s hard to imagine, then, why any person who has any sympathy for his fellow man would want to introduce even more dangerous and savage animals back into the lives of human beings. The only possible motivations can be great ignorance of the true dangers that such animals present, or a real desire to rob people of the pleasures of enjoying a hiking trip without having to worry about getting one’s head ripped off. Both, I’m sure are valid explanations, and the latter one is especially true among the more extreme environmentalists who look at the mountains as their own personal territory to be managed for their pleasure only.

Certainly for the average person, there is no economic, aesthetic, or psychic benefit to having grizzlies and wolves hanging around. They are dangerous, destructive of property, and aren’t particularly good eatin’. In the case of grizzlies, it is very unlikely that anyone could ever view one in the wild without being in mortal danger, so its not like you can just stroll through a meadow, sit down, and watch the grizzlies frolic. Sooner or later, they will see you and possibly eat you.

The fact that such animals are dangerous and best avoided fits in nicely with the environmentalists’ efforts to close off large portions of the United States from human beings. They want the mountains and forests shut off so that they can help make wood and beef products more expensive while keeping miners and loggers out of work. All of this so that the grizzly can roam the countryside unhindered and eat an occasional tourist. The environmentalists claim to want to preserve the beauty of the mountains, but they make every effort to keep people from enjoying that beauty by decreasing access, usage, and safety. Their real agenda, of course, is to further cheapen human life and prevent the economic development of the American West which would benefit the least fortunate of Americans the most.

At least out on the coast, sharks tend to stay in the water. Around here, dangerous animals frequently wander into suburban neighborhoods where ordinary people are minding their own business and trying to live their lives. Fortunately, the animals we have now are a lot less dangerous than grizzlies and wolves. People who claim to care about others should want to make sure it stays that way.

Ryan McMaken [send him mail] is a public relations man in Denver, Colorado. You can visit his Rocky Mountain news site at

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