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Animal Farm Gone Crazy

At first glance, it seemed like just another mundane story about horse massacres and the role they will play in starting the next American Revolution. Then we dug deeper and learned the details about the ex-CIA agent and his hog-tied co-worker, not to mention the duck-killing dog. Ultimately, we confronted the dark truth of the matter: This was a tale of land-use zoning.  

When Trenton H. Parker, 64, of Weld County, Colo., failed to abide by a court order to clean up a bunch of old trailers on his land, he was sentenced to 90 days in the clink. Parker responded in the only logical way: He posted a flier asking for riflemen to help him kill 24 Russian Arabian horses. He also left voice mails at the zoning department, threatening to stab the said horses and bash in their skulls on the courthouse steps and other public places. (Parker described the planned massacre as a “Tea Party,” which has left us determined not to RSVP the next time we’re invited to one.) 

“The first horse that we're gonna kill is a beautiful gray stallion by the name of Independence,” Parker enthusiastically told the Greeley Tribune. “When we shoot him with one shot, make no mistake about it, it will be the first shot of the second American Revolution. You think I'm kidding? You just sit by and watch what happens.”  

Parker, who ran in then dropped out of the race for the U.S. Senate in the late 1970s as a Colorado Republican, and who has been quoted in the tomes of conspiracy theorists (ask him about Vince Foster; go ahead -- we dare you) explained that the slaughter was necessary because he couldn’t feed the horses in jail. Besides, it would be a great protest of land-use regulations, or at least help to silence any neigh-sayers. 

But the revolution has been delayed; Parker went to jail sooner than expected after his bond on an unrelated, earlier charge was revoked. Parker’s dog had apparently killed Parker’s co-worker’s duck, you see, and during a dispute

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HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor