Winter weather offers endless excuses for sitting at home watching real life congressional or court room testimony on TV when I should be walking my dogs. Besides snow at different levels from scarcely enough to cover ice (that’s why I broke a wrist years ago) to hip depth, when I must wait for a snowplow to clear the pavement though that often results in a berm blocking my way down the ditch. Temperatures can dip to Arctic levels that freeze my face and my dogs’ ears, creating streets with ice so hard not even Icers can’t get traction.
At any time rain or severe winds can make walking unpleasant.
Then along comes May and June with a moderate temperature, clear pavement, only sporadic downpours. Walking should be unimpeded. But this hasn’t been one of those springs. Wild animals are now an obstacle.
A few weeks ago I came uncomfortably close to a cow moose with newborn twin calves. While I never saw her — too many trees and brush intervened for me to get a clear view — I heard her movements and my dogs sensed her presence. I suspected a bear more than a moose.
But that evening another dog walker phoned to tell me he had actually seen the moose and the calves, and suggested I stay out of that particular area for a few days.
Which I did. Not knowing what the cow’s plans might be, or the typical movements of a moose with two newborns in tow I curtailed my walks for a full week. One afternoon to quell cabin fever my dogs and I chose a different route behind Copper Mountain School since that area is more open and has vehicular traffic close by on three sides.
We saw nothing and heard nothing to indicate the cow might be nearby. Neither did my dogs react to signals I would miss.
Gaining in confidence, we had resumed walking our normal circuit before the other dog walker phoned again this time to say two bears had been sighted in the first area. Were they stalking the moose or just happened to be coming down from the mountain that week?
While confined to my yard, I’m watching realtime testimony on TV, from Washington but also from Bozeman, Montana when on June 12 a Gallatin County court heard the assault case of newly elected congressman Greg Gianforte charged for body slamming a Guardian reporter who asked him the estimated cost of Trump’s healthcare plan.
The Bozeman court room was small, only four rows of visitors’ seating, much taken up by news photographers whose clacking cameras drowned chunks of conversation.
The entire trial took less than an hour, putting to shame trials I’ve witnessed in Terrace where lawyers harumphed and took forever to pose a question or make a remark.
The millionaire politician pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 180 hours of deferred jail time, 40 hours of community service to be completed by November 28, and a 20 hour anger management course to help the 56 year old cope with the crush of Washington reporters he will face in congress corridors. He was fined $300, a $50 victim surcharge, and $35 court costs plus ordered to pay $4648 restitution for the reporter’s emergency room visit and new glasses.
As well, he donated $50,000 to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.
Yet this may not end his problems.When he arrives in Washington Congress may investigate and discipline him or even reject him as a sitting member. Wouldn’t that endear him to his voters, most of whom had voted before this incident occurred?