Wednesday, October 26, 2011

George Mindling Column 12-16-2005


It's A Jungle Out There


A Bobcat killed a raccoon across the street from us recently. Not directly across the street, but in front of the vacant lot next to us. The raccoon was still alive and in its death throes when I opened the front door about 11:00pm to take our dog out.

Our dog, Daisy, hesitated, then looked out the front door while I was still trying to figure out where the animal cries were coming from. I walked to the edge of the driveway and saw the bobcat struggling to drag the raccoon across the street and into the oak woods on the other side. Daisy joined me, standing silently at my side with her ears up, staring at the commotion going on in the street. Every hair on her body was standing straight out. She didn’t understand what was happening, but she knew she wanted no part of it.

While we struggle with taxes and explosive growth, Florida is still Florida. Many newcomers don’t comprehend how primitive some of our areas still are. Most don’t know the difference between an osprey and a vulture or an otter and an opossum. Many watch nature only on television, or the mechanical variety of wildlife found safely at Orlando’s amusement parks. The closest most get is the swamp tour at Babcock Ranch or the treetops walkway at the Myakka River State Park. They enjoy our wonderful climate and our sub-tropical wilderness and expect to be relatively safe from dangerous critters as they go about their daily lives.

Of course, the most dangerous critters are people like me. Newspaper writers and contributors who have the ability to have their opinions printed (well, some of them anyway) and try to convey their beliefs as public opinion. That has the effect of ad hoc community leadership. While I try to be informative about the business arena, I can’t help but comment on issues I believe to be important. Whether that skirts the business column guidelines depends on the editors. They pulled my column on China, but not other writer’s columns on their political viewpoints. We sometimes forget the goal is not just self-serving, but to satisfy the needs of the readership. In doing so, the readership will continue to grow. Hopefully, without uncalled for attacks on our law enforcement agencies or our County and City Governments.

Our Board of County Commissioners has undergone stress and trauma, due partly to a hurricane, but mostly to bad legal advice and a relentless attack by writers who honestly believe they are upholding the moral requirements of their media positions in front of the uninformed public.

As I look forward to next year, I hope we can maintain the atmosphere of managed growth and a true concern for our citizens in the spirit of the Commissioners who have served us well in the incredibly trying times of hurricane recovery.

It will be an interesting year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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