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Snakes and guns

WYOMING AND UTAH

Gun advocates keep turning up pesky impediments to their right to use guns any way they want, and when they do, they usually contact their state legislators and demand action. So recently, a Wyoming legislative panel endorsed a proposed bill that would permit silencers to be used while hunting any wildlife in the state, reports the Billings Gazette. Yet the regulation prohibiting hunters from using silencers on their guns was created entirely for safety reasons. As one reader commented: “This is a terrible, terrible idea. I have absolutely no problem with guns or hunters, but I like to know when someone is shooting a rifle around me when I’m out hiking.” 

And in Utah, a bit of brouhaha has erupted over the lack of human-shaped targets at public ranges run by the Division of Wildlife Resources. Supporters of targets that resemble people charge that squirrel and rabbit silhouettes or bull’s-eyes just don’t cut it when you’re training in “lawful self-defense,” reports the Salt Lake Tribune. The state agency, however, gently reminded the complainers that “in hunter education, we drive home the lesson that you should never point your firearm at something you do not intend to shoot — like other hunters.” To state Republican Sen. Mark Madsen, however, not allowing human-shaped targets at taxpayer-funded shooting ranges is nothing less than a “dangerous precedent.” 

WASHINGTON

A 15-to-20-pound, 6-or-7-foot-long Burmese python, variously described as albino, yellow or “closer to brown with some yellow areas,” escaped into a park in northeast Seattle, a situation complicated by initial confusion as to which park it had chosen, reports resident Dorothy Neville. Fortunately, after city police started tweeting people in the area about the dangers of this “ambush predator,” the snake, under the moniker “Ravenna Park Python,” suddenly began tweeting back: “Just out for a stroll, er slither, on a beautiful day. Heard there was some commotion on the other side of the park. …” The python, whose owner named it “Timid,” remains on the stroll.

From our friends

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

Sweet-talk from a loyal reader:

"I have been a loyal reader ever since the famous/infamous roadkill issue, years back. I just wanted to note that I regard HCN as the finest magazine I have ever read in my life and it keeps being so."

Tim Kingston, California