Heading in from burning back some weeds, I heard the cry of a rabbit in distress. Where I live in Colorado, I can be sure it's not the Quiver Rabbit I'm hearing across the arroyo.
Coyotes lope across our land all the time. Two days ago three does trotted single file along a ridge about 60 yards from the house, as I turned to watch them, I saw a single coyote in pursuit, followed by a straggling pup. The survival parade dipped down into the wash, then back up the other side of a trail that connects to one of our regular mountain bike and hiking trails. A minute later, the deer had switched back my way and were headed around my sister's house, the coyote still about 20 yards back, the pup nowhere to be seen.
Gary Harmon is the local Katherine Kersten, with a couple exceptions. He's a lot more likely to write about the Second Amendment, and his column takes more stabs at humor, though it's hard to say which columnist is funnier.
One other difference. In his day job, Harmon works as a reporter for the same newspaper, writing on a range of topics, including energy and land use.
Last week's column connecting the Tea Party movement to Dalton Trumbo was classic Harmon.
Trumbo is Grand Junction's most famous native son, which tells you quite a bit about sons from here. He gained his greatest fame as an ex-communist screenwriter who, hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee, refused to answer questions or rat out other people in Hollywood, citing First Amendment rights. He was held in contempt of Congress, sentenced to 10 months in prison and then was exiled from regular film work for 13 years as one of the blacklisted Hollywood 10.
He was also the first writer to come back out.
Under the pen name “Robert Rich,” he won the Oscar for Best Screenplay for “The Brave One” in 1956, and finally was credited under his own name for "Spartacus," thanks to the advocacy of Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger, who hired Trumbo for "Exodus."
The Tea Party is doing a promotion riffing on the famous "I am Spartacus" scene, giving Harmon his opening for lefty bashing.
Harmon, who has been around for a long time, summarizes Trumbo's career this way:
The real screenwriter is something of a hero to everything the tea party types stand athwart. He was a black-listed screenwriter who had been a communist and turned on his friends when the FBI came a knocking.
Get that? Trumbo goes up against Congress, defies government suppression of First Amendment rights and risks his treasure to stand on principle — which doesn't sound all that athwart what tea party types think they are doing — and Harmon turns him into a commie snitch.
Trumbo found the Communist Party about as effective and interesting as the Knights of Pythias and he moved on. It never bothered me this writer was once a communist, but it's disturbing that this columnist is still a reporter.