Different Worlds


October 26, 2003, 02:39 PM
I'm attaching the article below because it touches on on a number of themes we deal with here in THR. It discusses Timothy Treadwell, the animals right activist who was recently eaten by a big critter. But, in a larger sense you can take it as a commentary on some other familiar issues.
How those who live in protected gated communities can advocate disarmament of those who don't.
How increasingly alienated many people have become from not only the natural world, but from the reality of every day life!
We read the posts on this board about people abandoning California because of the gun laws, but I submit it's part of a larger event. We are becoming a schizophrenic nation where urban people and rural people are increasingly at odds. Where those who live on the coasts are increasingly at odds with those who live in fly-over country.
I feel like a foreigner when I visit the lower 48, yet it isn't me that has changed!

Are guns just the canary in the coal mine?


Treadwell lived life in vastly different worlds

Timothy Treadwell, who was killed by a bear earlier this month, was recently memorialized in Malibu, Calif. ( )


(Published: October 26, 2003)
MALIBU, Calif. -- I'm sitting in a low-slung beach chair on the edge of a blue Pacific that stretches off forever. A breeze is blowing in off the ocean from somewhere in the direction of Hawaii, but it is still hot. Too hot.

Southern California is in the midst of a record-setting heat wave. The television weatherman is warning it could hit 100 degrees in nearby Los Angeles on this, the third week in October. There is talk of temperature records being set in Burbank and Orange County back off the coast where these Pacific breezes are supposed to moderate.

I am here for the memorial for local hero Timothy Treadwell, one of two unfortunates killed by a brown bear in Katmai National Park and Preserve earlier this month. The other was his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard.

As someone who has seen grizzlies killed and as someone who once shot a grizzly bear off his own leg, I find it decidedly unpleasant to think about how Timothy and Amie died. There might be more unpleasant ways to go but not many.

Bears kill ugly, ripping and tearing and dismembering. The only solace here is in the thought that hopefully Timothy and Amie were in such shock they didn't feel anything. Still, it isn't pleasant to think about.

There are no bears here. Malibu's largest animals are the pelicans that bob in the surf offshore or do crash landings in Malibu lagoon.

Because of the people and the traffic, there can be no bears here. They wouldn't stand a chance. Neither do I.

I have been on the ground just a few hours, and already I'm anxious to return to Alaska. Sure, I could adapt to living here. Humans are the most adaptable mammal on the planet. We survive in places where rats can't even make it. We function in climates that cause cockroaches to expire.

Enduring and enjoying, however, are two very different things. And Southern California is simply not a very enjoyable place.

It's not the heat, though I'm no fan of anything much above the 72 degrees of room temperature.

It's not the traffic, though the congestion here can only make one chuckle at Anchorage residents who whine about traffic jams.

It's not the people, though that's hard to judge given that the vast majority hide in bunkered homes along the coast or move above in the air-conditioned cocoons of automobiles.

And yet it is about all of these things. The sum total of the parts adds up to an inhuman place. Malibu residents live in walled-off worlds both literally in their homes and figuratively in the visible separation between the rich in their Mercedes and the poor sweeping their driveways. It's almost like being transported back in time to the medieval fiefdoms of dukes and princes.

Is this what we get when modern people are finally cut off from the wild places that have shaped our lives for thousands of years?

We formed societies, it's worth remembering, not by accident, but because we needed them to survive. As those societies evolved away from the wild places, they continued to be shaped by them.

Wild places are where danger and adventure lurked, along with opportunity and disaster, challenge and defeat. The stresses endured there made the comfort of people look better. The wilderness shaped us as social animals in this way for a long time.

Take note of how tourists often define Alaskans as being so "friendly.'' We're not. They've got the wrong word. Friendly is the neighbor who brings over fresh-baked cookies. People must first be friends to be friendly.

We're not friendly. We're simply social. We're open. We're welcoming.

We can enjoy chance meeting with other people because we know that when we want to be away from them, we can be. We still entertain the luxury of retreating into the wild places that shaped the evolution of the human soul.

Southern California has taken a whole different spin on this basic human need. For retreat here, you battle like hell to earn enough money to buy your way into the Malibu Colony where you can live with a bunch of other wealthy folk behind an 8-foot-high stone wall that sits behind a 6-foot-high chain-link fence which guards a barren 25-foot patch of ground that appears to be nothing more than a free-fire zone around a prison.

From inside this enclosure, you can admire Timothy Treadwell for abandoning it all for months at a time to go save the great brown bears of Alaska, even if they don't need saving.

The question that will trouble me for a long time is how Timothy Treadwell could split his life almost equally between the harsh existence of a tent on the Katmai coast and Malibu. I couldn't do it.

You would almost have to be schizophrenic. It makes me wonder if Timothy really kicked the drug habit to which he had confessed.

You don't have to be long in this hurried-up, bunkered-down place to begin to understand why mind-altering drugs might become attractive. It is a place that makes Alaska, even with all its human-added warts and blemishes, look very, very good.

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October 26, 2003, 03:14 PM
There is a lot of thought-provoking meat to that article. The reference to Treadwell as a hero stuck in my throat a little. While I didn't know him as a person, the stories I have read about his death would not lead me to call him a hero. As far as the thesis of the article, I couldn't agree more. One only needs to talk to someone who has lived in NYC his whole life to realize how isolated they are from reality as the rest of us know it.

El Tejon
October 26, 2003, 03:19 PM
Keith, I once had a very interesting conversation with Ken Hackathorn about this. He held that the USA was becoming like parts of the Third World that he had taught in extensively, particularly South America--peasants and nobility. Parts of the nation do not see themselves as Americans, but better than Americans which need to be separated and restricted. Note how "gun control" is always for someone else--the most vocal "gun control" advocates are always armed themselves.

If one holds that view of himself, it becomes easier and easier to oppress "the other." THEY cannot be trusted; THEY are ignorant; THEY are a problem. It is becoming readily apparent in California, however, I saw it out East and in Chicago as well.

I do not know where this is leading, but I fear for my nation and its rush toward Balkanization.:(

October 26, 2003, 03:30 PM
I think the author is just pointing out how those who live there would characterize Treadwell as a hero, when Alaskans generally think of him as a complete idiot. The press here has ripped him apart worse than that bear ever did!

But really, I'm more interested in the strangeness that the author feels in California. I felt the same way the last time I spent a little time there.

California, New York, New Jersey, Mass, etc, have become different countries. Political correctness has replaced thought. It's not just about guns, or even liberal vs conservative politics, it's bigger than that. They've abandoned logic itself on a whole range of issues.

I don't feel that way when I visit my wife's family in Minnesota. Even though they are mostly liberals, we still have a common understanding of right and wrong, good and bad.


October 26, 2003, 03:36 PM
California = hero
Alaska = idiot

Seems pretty clear to me who's thinking is outa whack! ;)

October 26, 2003, 03:42 PM

I agree with what you're saying, yet there is more... You are describing the elite "limousine liberals" who direct this "thing" we are talking about.

Yet, how do we explain the the little people who lock arms and support all this? They certainly aren't shielded from the consequences!
They are the ones disarmed. They are the ones upon whom the financial burden of all these "programs" fall most heavily. They are the ones who have to eat (and pay for all those programs) on the low wages that competition from illegal immigration brings.

In every way they carry the burden, yet they support all this. They support the programs. They support the ever increasing taxes. They support the encouraging illegal immigration. They support being disarmed.


October 26, 2003, 03:54 PM
How do we explain the little people who lock arms and support all this?

Without trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, I suggest the publick educashun sistim.

The people are lied to from their earliest memories and a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. Check with Herr Goebbels on that. That's why the one guy called the democratic party the evil party, while characterizing the republicans as the stupid party. There is a difference, albeit libertarians claim not to see it.

Immigrants allowed into the country are almost 100% certain to vote democratic as they are told America is a democracy. That is until they realize about the confiscatory programs of the democrats to ensure a steady influx of new democratic voters as the other ones leave the party as soon as they catch on. JMTC

Standing Wolf
October 26, 2003, 07:49 PM
...peasants and nobility...

Yep. The founding fathers would weep to see our self-appointed aristocrats and professional politicians in action.

4v50 Gary
October 26, 2003, 08:11 PM
I enjoyed the article and thank you for sharing it Keith. The bit about "shock" is wishful thinking. I'm sure they felt every puncture, bone crushing, flesh tearing rip as Ole Brown reminded them that we can fall off the food chain by our own stupidity. I don't wish that on anyone, but like Big G says: California = hero, Alaska = idiot

Isn't that the truth? Respect nature and keep your distance unless you're equipped to handle nature turning on you.

I don't think we're headed towards balkanization. That would be more along the lines of race or religion. However, I do see a lower standard of living. Back in the days of Beaver & Wally, Ward worked and Jill stayed home to watch Wally & the Beav. Modernly Ward and Jill both work and who knows what Wally & the Beav are doing. Probably selling drugs with their buddy Eddie. Even if Wally & the Beav are model students who are clean and wholesome, consider the standard of living lower today since both parents must work to enjoy the same lifestyle enjoyed by Ward & Jill.

Compound that with the growing elitism among politicians, the media and the "cultural elite" (Holly-would :barf: ) of this nation. The growing separation between the "classes" and what may be an ever diminishing middle class - the "stability" factor for this country as we're all suppose to be able to achieve it.

So, where are we headed? With the growing disparity, the fleeing of middle class jobs (primary unionized production thanks to NAFTA, etc.), the decrease of middle class, perhaps Third World status. :eek: We certainly should not settle in for a "welfare" state like the late Roman Empire did (it was cheaper to produce things overseas than in Italy and besides, why work since welfare paid better?

October 27, 2003, 11:52 AM
Well, we're certainly growing apart as nation! I find myself stupified several times a week when reading the statements on various issues, by people that (I assume) are of normal intelligence.
It's OK with me to have a difference of opinion on even very fundamental things - there are people who can make a cogent argument that the Second Amendment is about state militia's....OK, that's fine with me, I'll counter with my own argument.
But, all too often you see people abandon any sort of logical premise on an issue. Gun owners, corporations, Republicans, hunters, SUV owners are simply "evil" or "racist" or (insert invective here).

We've always had nutty people, but they were never given a platform and taken seriously by anyone. They weren't glorified by the media, they didn't get elected to public office...

I have as much in common with a Berkeley city councilman as I do with a radical Muslim cleric - nothing at all. They've both abandoned the real world that I live in.


October 27, 2003, 12:03 PM
The founding fathers would weep to see our self-appointed aristocrats and professional politicians in action.
Some few of 'em might. Most were aristocrats themselves, who made certain to institute protections like the electoral college to insulate their class from such dangers as democracy responsive to the peasants.

October 27, 2003, 12:12 PM
The electoral college was instituted to protect from "democracy" which is simply a fancy way of saying mob rule.

Andrew Rothman
October 27, 2003, 01:14 PM
Yeah. "Local hero" was ironic, as evidenced by "...you can admire Timothy Treadwell for abandoning it all for months at a time to go save the great brown bears of Alaska, even if they don't need saving."

October 27, 2003, 03:25 PM
Nah, the USA has always failed to immediately absorb it's current generation of immigrants. It takes about three generations for an immigrant population to become fully absorbed (& acccepted) for integration by the existing status quo of Americans. Takes them this long to learn the language, customs and adopt the mannerisms/atttudes before they move outta their ethnic neighborhoods to greener pastures.
Indentured servants from colonial days,
Poles, Slavs,
Chinese (first wave in 1840's),
Middle Easterners,
SE Asians,
Mexicans, Latin Americans,
Carribean Nations

Oh yeah, that bear-hugger Treadwell was an idiot.

Black Snowman
October 27, 2003, 04:24 PM
A very good article and one I can sympathise with. California has managed to scare me off so bad with their mad rehtoric that I refuse to step inside the state for fear of contamination. I turned down some very lucrative contract work in California just because it was in California.

There are unreasonable people all over, some more unreasonable than others. Most people like to find and cling to a belief like it's a safety blanket. This can be helpful to some but it can also be destructive to many.

The general trend over the last couple decades of taking responsability away from the individual and assigning it to groups and objects is very dangerous indeed and what's worse it's very difficult to fight.

Fanatics always believe they are doing whats right. There is very little differance between someone who blindly follows the marching orders of an organization or a religion placing those responsable for gun control, terrorism, and the crusades right next each other whether they like it or not. Like they say "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." and the gun control fanatics believe they are doing the right things just as those who flew those airliners in 9-11-01 did.

You can't argue or reason with fanatacism. I just hope the cost of maintaining liberty in the coutry is kept to a minimum. I'd like to see us last at lease another 200 years as a free nation but it's not looking real good right now.

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