If you pull back and look at us from a distance,it is interesting what we as a legislature would seem to be afraid of.
1. Wolves: not for their teeth but for the fact that, to a sizable number of us as legislators, they embody the Federal Government. They represent that struggle locals feel as the back country is designated wilderness and federal law changes to reflect coming population demands, pollution and contamination and human health problems already urgent in cities. It is a struggle over change and over power. Some fear the wolf because we are accustomed to being almost invincible in the wilderness. We are accustomed to grazing sheep and cattle and making of wild places what we will, not what another creature wills. Even if we implant birth control devises in wolves and see their populations level, there will be tension. Even if we watch them strengthen elk herds, culling the weak and making wild game meat lean and strong, there will be those who still will wish wolves exterminated. Even if we are able to use federal dollars to pay for losses to ranchers, pay to cover investment and the future market value of calves, there will be some who will never see a wolf as magnificent or sacred, only scary.
What else might we as lawmakers fear?
2. Being without a gun. Unless recent legislation is only about the politics of gun rights, then I suspect that it is frightening for some of my colleagues to picture their own son or daughter on a college campus without a gun. Let's set aside that moments of passion and drunkenness are perhaps the greatest threats to public safety, even for those who remain sober, and to insert guns into such an environment might not help make it safer. Never mind that suicide by a fire arm may be one of the higher risk factors of allowing concealed weapons on campus. I suppose too we had best set aside the notion that a concealed weapons permit is an adequate test for emotional stability or any indicator of its owner's ability keep that gun out of the hands of others on a small campus with shared dorm rooms, open doors, and many parties. This week, as the legislature debates prohibiting colleges from banning concealed weapons on campus, we will contemplate what we fear and what we don't fear. Will a change in the law create more fear or less?