They Shoot Dogs, Don’t They?
PUNK’T: Poor Lois. She never had a clue. By
Lois, I mean Lois Capps, our Congressional representative in
Washington, D.C. What Lois was clueless about is more precisely a
“who” — in this case Duncan Hunter, the raging Congressional
right-winger who represents the good people of El Cajon and others
living east of San Diego, an inland empire where hot desert winds
snuff out errant ocean breezes. In the most flagrant manner
possible, Hunter violated every code of Congressional courtesy and
political protocol, ripping off not only Lois Capps but the people
of the 23rd Congressional District and Santa Barbara County.
Abusing his considerable power as chairman of the Armed Services
Committee, Hunter just successfully hijacked control over Santa
Rosa Island — which as part of the National Park System has
belonged to the public for the past 20 years.
Hunter’s dream is to turn our national park into a wide-open
shooting range where wounded military veterans can heal their
bodies and mend their souls by fragging the deer and elk still
roaming the island’s craggy, windswept terrain. What sounded like a
far-fetched idea when first introduced more than a year ago is now
a done deal. Given that Santa Rosa Island is in Capps’s district,
Lois had harbored hope that Hunter might actually consult with her.
After all, he told her he would. But as anyone should have known,
you can’t take Duncan Hunter at his word. It’s tempting to get
red-faced about Hunter’s bad faith and lack of manners. But let’s
be real; Hunter — a one-time UCSB student — is struggling with
forces far beyond his control. If anyone’s to blame for this,
clearly it’s Hunter’s parents.
They’re the ones who put a curse on the boy at birth by making
his middle name “Lee.” As I’ve conclusively demonstrated in
previous columns, anyone endowed with the first, last, or middle
name Lee (or Leroy) is disproportionately prone to criminal
tendencies and sociopathic behavior. I call this “The Theory of
Lee,” for which I fully expect a Nobel Prize and MacArthur Grant.
Scoff if you will, but consider this: One of the two snipers who
terrorized the nation’s capital three years ago is named John Lee
Malvo (a k a Lee Boyd Malvo), and the philandering fertilizer
salesman recently convicted of killing his wife and unborn son was
none other than Scott Lee Peterson. I could go on, but space
constrains me. Some overeager converts to my discovery have
suggested this theory explains the predatory lust of Republican
Congressman Mark Foley because the last syllable of his last name
is pronounced “Lee.” But even for me, that’s a stretch.
Typical of many sociopaths, Hunter has displayed a high level of
audacity in both the planning and execution of his crime. When
Capps sought to block his path using traditional political means,
he proved adroit at thrusting her parries. Hunter’s basic argument
is that he’s saving Santa Rosa’s nonindigenous elk and deer from
extermination. This refers to the fact that they must be removed
from the island in 2011, according to the terms of a legal
settlement arrived at 10 years ago. But there’s something hideously
wonderful about saving animals for the purpose of killing them
With Hunter, nomenclature is clearly destiny; his trigger finger
twitches at the thought of hoofed creatures accessorized with
antler headgear. As chairman of the powerful Armed Services
Committee, Hunter has been known to push the perks of power by
using Vandenberg Air Force Base as his private hunting reserve. It
was reported that while returning from a restful cap-popping spree
there, one of his fellow hunters mentioned that even more
spectacular sport could be found on Santa Rosa. The rest, as they
say, is history.
In his first foray, Hunter simply tried to transfer ownership of
the island to the Department of Defense so disabled veterans could
enjoy some four-legged target practice. After that effort flopped,
Hunter attached a few lines — a masterpiece of legislative
vagueness — to the irresistibly huge military appropriations bill
going through the committee, which he just happened to chair. To
bolster his cause, Hunter trotted out the Paralyzed Veterans of
America (PVA), who wrote a letter on behalf of his scheme.
Capps responded by inviting the PVA to tour the island, and
after doing so, its representative — reportedly an accomplished
wheelchair triathlete — concluded that Santa Rosa Island was way
too steep and rocky for PVA members. Did that deter Hunter? The
vets could shoot from the comfort of their vehicles, he countered.
And he dredged up yet another vets organization to sanctify his
mission — this time the Wounded Warriors of America. Capps has
noted that nowhere in the measure does Hunter provide any “military
appropriations” for the vets’ hunting sprees. She’s right. Big game
hunting trips on Santa Rosa can cost as much as $17,000 a pop. But
such arguments, when made by a Democrat in a Republican-controlled
Congress, are beside the point. The real point is brute force.
Capps needed to find and embrace her own inner Lee. Everybody
has one, even Lois. I called Capps’s press secretary Emily Kryder
to see what kind of retaliatory strike Lois had in the works for
Hunter’s district. Perhaps Capps could lay claim to the 700-acre
Blue Sky Nature Preserve in Hunter’s backyard on behalf of Santa
Barbara’s Wilderness Youth Camp.
Or what about the Unarius Society, a spiritual sect in El Cajon
that started after its founders had been contacted by
extraterrestrials in 1954? Certainly, we could claim them as part
of the Vandenberg Outer-Space Program. If Kryder has the goods on
Hunter’s district, she’s not sharing. Instead, she gave me such
Goody-Two-Shoe bromides as “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Maybe
Kryder actually means it. If so, no wonder Lois got whupped. My
hunch is, she discovered that El Cajon was the meth-head capital of
the state way back before it became trendy, and that Hunter has
little worth stealing. Next time around, Lois needs to get a little
Lee in her bonnet. If Hunter likes dead animals so much, maybe she
should make sure he wakes up with one in his bed. In the meantime,
if you plan to visit Santa Rosa Island, be sure to wear bright
orange and a bullet-proof vest.