How times have changed |

How times have changed

Out on a Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Reflecting back on my early years in Garfield County, we had a sheriff and an undersheriff in Glenwood Springs, and one deputy stationed in Rifle. If memory serves me correctly, the sheriff’s wife cooked at the jail and the undersheriff’s wife went to jail for embezzlement.

Back then, the state police was called the Colorado Courtesy Patrol. Did that bring a chuckle? When they stopped you they would say, “Step out of the car, please.” The last time I did that, the cop called backup, and I had two more patrol cars descend on me.

My, how times have changed! One morning recently, we discovered a pickup had run off 335 Road into our field. It had torn up a considerable crop, and had rammed the road bank until it was high-centered. A quick call to dispatch revealed that it had been reported. New Castle said it was out of the city limits. The state patrol said, “Sorry, it’s on private property.” The sheriff’s department said, “Sorry, it looks like vandalism.” The fire department left because it wasn’t a fire. No one called the landowner.

Fortunately, the horses didn’t get out and cause another wreck. We located the still-inebriated driver who had left the scene and finally got a deputy to respond.

The deputy approached me and said, “And what is the nature of your complaint?” Is it possible that a metal badge creates an energy field that decreases brain function in some people?

Let’s consider another scenario. Suppose you have a young boy with a serious blunt force trauma head injury. Would it be a really good idea to elevate his heart rate and blood pressure dramatically?

Let’s also suppose that you have a military veteran father who has a bad attitude toward government agencies that tend to believe that they really own all children. A swat team raid to seize one of his kids might just verify his position. In fact, all his kids will now know dad was right, and all the neighbors will agree.

My, how times have changed. Many of us grew up believing that government agencies’ salaries were paid by us, the taxpayers, and now these agencies who were there to help guarantee our safety and freedom are having trouble adjusting to the new world order.

I saw a police car from a nearby community that had on it the words, “To serve and protect.” I sort of cynically chuckled.

Some years back, my fruit market was raided three weekends in a row. The sheriff said, “Call me if you figure anything out.” I tracked them down and found the loot. The sheriff made arrests and seized the loot for “evidence.” When I got it back months later, it certainly was no longer saleable. Thanks a lot.

A mechanic in Silt had his shop robbed, and had to buy a completely new set of tools because the police kept the recovered stolen tools for “evidence.”

Thirteen years ago, a friend of mine had a gun stolen. The sheriff’s office recovered it, but he never got it back.

To see how far out-of-hand things can get, I recommend the book, “The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge,” by Randy and Sarah Weaver. The recent siege at Coal Ridge of the Shiflett home does not hold a candle to that incident, but the principals are the same. Lies, misinformation and made-up evidence.

At Ruby Ridge, the Weavers supposedly had bunkers, tunnels, booby traps and a stash of illegal weapons. It turned out to be imaginary evidence, but they shot his 14-year-old son and a sniper blew his wife’s head off while she was holding the baby.

All this said, I am not an anarchist. Law enforcement is absolutely necessary in a civil and free society. There needs to be consequences for criminal activity. However, there also needs to be accountability for government agencies, from judges to law enforcement.

I understand that apologies are totally out of the question because of the liability issue. There should at least be some accountability, but maybe that only comes at election time.

My, how things have changed!

Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.

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