Sunday, January 5, 2014
When will the residents of the western slope of Colorado (and the west in general) begin to realize that extractive industries will never create a stable economy? Instead of the constant grousing about government regulation, environmentalists, unscrupulous mine owners, and fluctuating prices, they need only look back to the long history of boom or bust cycles throughout the west to see the repeating pattern.. After all, we are talking about a finite resource here. It‘s gonna run out, folks! Yet every time a community falls prey to the exodus of some big oil company, they cannot understand why and the blame game begins.
Recently a man in Colorado Springs accidentally shot and killed his 14-year old step daughter who was sneaking back home at 4am. He said he thought she was a burglar. Two more victims of Americans’ obsession with guns. The girl is an obvious victim. The step dad is also a victim--- of a culture of paranoia, right wing talk radio, and fear mongering in general. So what did his loaded gun get him? A dead child. A really high price to pay for not being burgled.
Mesa County, Colorado has steadfastly refused to hop on the legalized marijuana bandwagon by not authorizing any retail pot establishments and banning most of the medical marijuana businesses. I predict this holier-than-thou attitude will change quickly once they see the business and tax revenues pouring into Denver, Glenwood Springs and other Colorado communities where weed is legally sold. Big money will trump all unrealized fears of a cannabis-crazed populace.
Colorado continues to be a state of anomalies. We legalized pot but we’re stuck with tea-bagger representatives like Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn. We tightened up gun restrictions then watched while some of the politicians responsible were recalled by the gun lobby. Not to mention the random shootings that keep happening in places like Aurora and Columbine. We have the liberal burg of Boulder just up the freeway from Colorado Springs, home of Focus On the Family and other uber conservative groups.
And the Front Range communities keep looking for ways to divert more water from the Colorado River, a river already so over-allocated and endangered that it no longer flows to the sea, in order to continue the pattern of rampant growth. No one ever steps forward to say, “can we slow down a little?”
And why is it that one still cannot walk into a grocery store and buy wine or liquor?