Not as bad as it seems

 

IDAHO

Whiny, weak and what you might call wussy are adjectives that characterize too many people in Idaho today, complains the Idaho Mountain Express, and even some elected officials admit they're living in fear. What fills folks with such anxiety? Wolves -- which, according to one legislator, are loitering at the mailbox, holding innocent women hostage, and hovering near school bus stops, ready to gobble up children. So "with lightning speed," the state Legislature "rammed through" a bill that allows the governor to declare war on wolves whenever he feels they're threatening people, livestock, outfitters or wildlife. This trembling at the thought of the Big Bad Wolf is downright embarrassing, says the state's largest weekly paper: "The chance that someone will ride on a commercial airliner whose top will peel off or develop a hole is higher today than being attacked by a wolf."

ARIZONA

Ho-hum: Life on the U.S.-Mexico border has become such a bore that Border Patrol agents find themselves nodding off on the job. They hate to snooze on the midnight shift, reports The New York Times, so they down energy drinks and walk briskly around their vehicles to stay alert. But the silence gets to them and before they know it, it's dreamtime. The trouble is that they have so little to do; illegal crossings have dipped to record low levels because of the dismal economy this side of the border, and without the "wild foot chases and dust-swirling car pursuits" to jack up adrenaline, border agents in the 126-mile Yuma sector complain they're on the job merely to watch the "fence rust." During the boom times years ago, recalled border agent Jeff Bourne, he helped run down 180 illegal immigrants in one day. Halfway into a recent shift, it was a far different story: "His crime-stopping efforts consisted of stopping a young man from dropping a soda can in the park."