Now for some beefs

Letter from Paul Brown

Colorado Central – July 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed and Martha,

Columnist Hal Walter’s spat with reader, Dennis Sprecher gives me an opportunity to weigh in on two beefs that occasionally irritate me when reading your fine magazine.

First let me defend Hal to the point of at least confirming that he is no city slicker, panty-waist vegetarian. I sold Hal his first house in Custer County in about 1982. I moved to Wetmore in 1974 like many young people then and now who were entranced by the romance and mythology of the American West.

I lived there for another 26 years and “sold out” and moved to town. I often felt morally superior to “city slickers.” I’m not sure exactly why, though, because like the majority of people who populate Custer County and other parts of the rural West, I drove every day to the city and back for a job. Many urban dwellers are more environmentally responsible than most of those who live in old farm houses or 35-acre ranchettes and drive to town every day.

Why, even those “ranchers who make their living off the land” are harder on the environment than the soft-handed urban effetes who walk or ride their bikes to work each day. Many of those ranchers are also drawing more welfare than most unfortunate urban poor. (Don’t get me started on the evils of ranching in the West). I know of only a handful of people of working age who truly live off the land in the rural West.

The other (and only) irritating thing I see most every month in your very fine publication is your habit of replying to criticisms or observations of your readers. I always thought the letters to the editor section was to allow the readers a chance at the last word. For people who make their money by necessarily criticizing others, you guys sure have thin skin.

Although I am neither “urbane, sophisticated or vegetarian,” I am one of those city slickers, who loves his wilderness but finds it better on the planet to live in town.

Paul Brown

Eugene, Oregon