A new standard for arrogance

Letter from Hal Walter

John Walker’s Letter – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear John Walker:

I don’t normally respond to letters to the editor. I figure I had my say, now you get yours. However, your letter was so ill-conceived and illogical that I could not leave it unanswered. Your unwarranted derision of my family, “generations of Walters” of whom you know absolutely nothing, and your fascist suggestion that I leave the area if I can’t abide by your belief system, set a new standard for arrogance in my hefty letters-to-the-editor collection.

Your letter seems more a hastily written personal attack than a well-thought-out, reasonable argument against my taking a shot at a coyote.

To me it appears to be the product of someone who scanned my column without really reading it, developed a preconceived, emotionally charged idea about me, and then reacted irrationally.

The cynical notion that technology elevates me — but not you — from an animal to a “god” is bizarre. Judging from your letter, the only one who believes he possesses some god-like qualities is you.

You not only have no need for weapons, you don’t heat your home or even live in a house for that matter. You don’t have pets. Other than a gimme Bronco cap, you hand-sew all your clothing from hand-woven organic cloth.

A minor deity like you doesn’t even drive a motor vehicle; you arrived in Coaldale on the angelic wings of teleportation. I just can’t figure why you needed that case of oil that came with the Bronco cap.

Get real. You and I, as living humans, are a part of nature regardless of whether you wish to admit it. Whether we discriminately deal with coyotes in the way I did one time in 16 years of living in Custer County, or indiscriminately smash bugs on the windshield the way you do every time you drive to Salida for tofu, we are both a part of nature.

Whether you are a hunter who eats meat from animals he kills, or a vegetarian who eats only organically grown grains and produce, you are a part of nature. It’s irrefutable that far more animals, from a far wider variety of species, die as a result of industrial agriculture than from hunting in this country.

You should also be careful about the way you present information as factual. You may see large numbers of deer in the area, but the truth is that mule deer are in a state of decline across the West due to disease, poor game-management practices, cross-breeding by white tail deer, overpopulation of critical range by elk, and, indeed, predation by coyotes.

Meanwhile there are more coyotes in the United States now than ever in recorded history. Your assertion that coyotes prey only on small animals is incorrect; coyotes in packs routinely hunt full-grown deer and elk.

Recently there have been reports of coyote attacks on people — not exactly small game either.

The coyote’s natural predator, the wolf, would do much to keep the population in check, but we don’t have many of those around any more. There is some evidence that predation by man may actually be linked to the overpopulation of coyotes, since hunters generally kill more mature animals, which in turn leaves more food for the young to survive.

If you had focused on a reasonable argument such as this, instead of using holier-than-thou arrogance and personal attacks, I may have had more respect for you and your opinion.

You may not think so, but I put a great deal of care and thought into both my dealings with nature and my writing. You should do the same before you carelessly judge someone.

Hal Walter

Rural Westcliffe