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 later.
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.