You can describe New Mexico in so many ways: big skies with mind-boggling sunsets, politically diverse, expansive, neighborly, God fearing, home of tourist attractions from national parks to soaring balloons, rough-hewn cowboys pulling up a bar chair next to Santa Fe sophisticates.
In a word — and state sloganeers may use this if they care to — I would call New Mexico enchanted.
I would also call it unimaginative.
Our gun contests are boring. Let me make it clear up front. While there is a chance, if pressed, I might come down on the side of those who find such contests ill advised, my purpose here is not to argue the point.
Mike Corn, whose family had been sheep and cattle ranching in the Roswell area for 135 years, says the double dip dilemma of marauding coyote and persistent drought are putting ranchers out of business. He would favor the coyote contest sponsored earlier this year by Larry’s Gun Shop that offered an AR-15 5.56 millimeter semi-automatic rifle to the champion coyote killers.
On the other side of this fence is State Rep. Nate Cole, a Democrat of Las Cruces, who introduced legislation to outlaw animal killing. As stated, I will stay neutral in this dispute, admitting only the AR-15 sounds like it would come in handy around our house where pesky deer won’t quit eating our plants.
Rat-a-tat-tat! Take that, Bambi!
Gunhawk Firearms of Los Lunas has also been known to sponsor coyote kills and it took the controversy a step further with sponsorship of a contest to wipe out prairie dogs. Dozens of folks showed up with guns and ammo and when the gun smoke cleared the contest winner had killed 239 of those prairie dogs.
While I have never personally shot that particular animal, I can only imagine killing 239 prairie dogs gives a fellow a real sense of accomplishment.
But enough of the killing contests. I will remain middle of the road on this one. You choose your side. My point, and I knew you were hoping I would get to one, is that New Mexico’ s gun contests are so yesterday.
Let us look north to our enlightened neighbors in Colorado, gun-lovers who chase from office perfectly accomplished politicians who come up short on the gun law protection meter.
Colorado is beyond contests merely targeting defenseless animals. Colorado wants to hunt drones.
The tiny plains town of Deer Trail is looking to its Dec. 10 meeting to pass an ordinance permitting sale of drone-shooting licenses. There would be a $100 bounty reward for shooters who bring in debris from unmanned aircraft “known to be owned and operated by the U.S. federal government.”
Hey, we are not talking about big drones here. No, these are those 55-pound jobs that buzz around invading our privacy.
And guess who is against this particular shooting contest? Yep. That’ right. The federal government that has restricted so many of our God-given freedoms doesn’t want us shooting drones.
We will be watching that Dec. 10 vote. Colorado better let freedom ring. Or I will get so mad I might just go shoot me a lesser prairie chicken.
Ned Cantwell — firstname.lastname@example.org — is fed up.