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Guns and Arizona congressmen, airplane blowouts

COLORADO

On hot summer days at the Aspen Airport, private planes from all over the world crowd the tarmac. For some reason, the pilot of an eight-seater Citation X decided that the afternoon of July 1 was the perfect time to gun the engines and do a high-powered "gauge test." Unfortunately, the pilot failed to notice that the plane's engines faced a long-term parking lot. In less than a minute, as many as 30 cars were badly pelted, with seven suffering blown-out windows. Luckily, no one was injured by the rocks that the jet's engines flung into the parking lot. Airport director Jim Elwood was quick to assure the Aspen Daily News: "This is a highly unusual event to have happen."

ARIZONA

State Sen. Lori Klein, a first-term Republican from Anthem, Ariz., found herself in hot water recently when she pointed a loaded gun at an Arizona Republic reporter. "I looked down and saw the red dot (from the gun's laser feature) on my chest," journalist Richard Ruelas said. Klein explained that it was really his fault for sitting there, and she refused to discuss it further because there's "a media feeding frenzy that is driven by a few individuals who never miss the opportunity to advance an anti-2nd-Amendment agenda." Ruelas said he wasn't afraid that Klein would accidentally shoot him with her raspberry-colored .380 Ruger -- at least not until after the interview, when he learned that the gun was loaded and had no safety device.

THE WEST

Get a grip! A swooping hawk recently started a small fire and cut off power in Silver City, N.M., when it dropped a cottontail rabbit onto the top of a power pole. The rabbit landed on a transformer, shorting it and showering sparks onto the dry weeds beneath it, reports the Daily Press. And in Missoula, Mont., a bald eagle with a dead fawn gripped (sort of) in its talons dropped it onto power lines, causing a half-hour power outage. As an employee for Northwestern Energy put it to the Associated Press, the blackout was caused by "a deer with wings." 

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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