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Terri Farley
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

BACSI: remembering wartime compassion on Memorial Day

Dear Readers, 
I was still in high school and hadn't yet met my husband when he reluctantly joined the Army.
He volunteered for all the interesting education the Army would give him, thinking the Viet Nam war would end before he was done dawdling.  
It didn't work out that way. Cory emerged as a sergeant, an airborne Green Beret medic with demolitions training. Qualified to jump out of planes, blow things up and fix the friendlies, he was sent to war. 
The big gentle hand on the little girl's back, in the photo, belongs to to the Cory I know now, and I'm not surprised at his compassion for war's innocent victims. 
Maybe because we both hate war, Cory always puts a self-mocking spin on the good he did there. Here's what he posted on Facebook: 

"Found this, taken 46 years ago this month, in an old box of pictures. I was was the medic on a Special Forces team running a patrol of Montagnard troops near Pleiku. Our second day out, we came into a small village, six or eight hooches, and a father brought this little girl out to me. She had a high fever alternating with chills; I made an empirical diagnosis of malaria and we managed to get a helicopter in to fly her out. It didn't occur to me at the time, but it was a pretty remote ville, hunter-gatherers eating monkeys and rodents, and suddenly this giant American calls a Huey to fly the whole family to an American hospital. They may be remembered in Plei Bong Whatever as the people who got abducted by aliens...."

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

BLM Bloodlines Explain Lack of Horse Sense

A couple weeks ago, I walked into conversational ambush with a new retiree from the Bureau of Land Management, but it turned out okay. Because we met during a social occasion and the spirit of retirement was upon him, this man talked openly and I was reminded why I got along with BLM staffers years ago when we met for coffee and biscuits at Bruno's cafe, in sight of the Calico Mountains where we'd work at cross-purposes. 

Dinner was about to be served when he turned away, and then turned back to me, palms up.
 “You’ve got to realize, for the last hundred or so years, BLM’s had to measure every decision against the Taylor Grazing Act.”  

Of course I’d heard of the Taylor Grazing Act. It had something to do with cows being sovereign over wild horses and wild life on public lands, but I didn’t see it as that influential in BLM actions.  Wrong.

Everything that touches the lives of wild horses is part of my work in progress, a non-fiction book about mustangs, so I pursued this tip. I'm passing on what I learned, because just as a horse’s bloodlines can reveal his ancestors’ strengths and weaknesses, so can the bloodlines of government bureaus.  

In 1946, two Federal agencies merged and gave birth to the Bureau of Land Management.

Sire: General Land Office, the agency that surveyed and sold off the West’s public lands at such a speedy and profitable rate, it spawned the expression “doing a Land Office business.” 

Dam: U.S. Grazing Service, enforcer of the Taylor Grazing Act which “stops injury to the public grazing lands by preventing overgrazing and soil deterioration; to provide for their orderly use, improvement, and development to stabilize the livestock industry dependent upon the public range.” 

By GLO, out of USGS, what do you get?  

There could be room for hope. But BLM's hidden talents haven't shown themselves, lately.

For those of us watching BLM's mistreatment of wild horses, it's hard to see the agency as anything more than an a coddler of cattlemen and hawker of America's wild lands.

If BLM won’t fess up to it’s real plans for America’s wild horses, the public is left to fall back on an old expression that’s doubly true: blood will tell.

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