Editor’s Choice: How the John Birch Society Bit Ravalli County

Editor’s Choice: How the John Birch Society Bit Ravalli County


A Tale of Cats, Cows and Anti-Vaxxers


How the John Birch Society Bit Ravalli County and Gave It Rabies

By: Bill Lacroix
First published: https://billlacroix.blogspot.com/

I don’t call my cat “Fatso” lightly. It’s not who she is, it’s where she likes to sit and when, which is on my lap when I’m using my laptop. Her body blobs onto my keyboard and, when I try to write, my minimal hand movements harsh her mellow, which prods her to give the back of my hand a nip of annoyance. That’s endearing, but, not too long ago, one of her love bites broke the skin and became infected, which recalled a ‘70s pop song that should have been killed at birth (“Cat Scratch Fever”) which, in turn, triggered a temporary bout of irrational cognitive dissonance (anger mixed with conspiracy theories), the sort of thing that short-circuits your brain and sends you to an emergency room for drugs because you never know WHO or WHAT is out to get you in Ravalli County. It could be your cat. Or Ted Nugent.

To point: Ravalli County has had a problem with science, for a while. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our local cops couldn’t possibly enforce humane safety protocols to keep other peoples’ grandparents from dying because of other peoples’ conspiracy theories. Alas—and as a direct result—more people died of Covid than in traffic accidents. Paradoxically, these same cops could and did enforce speed limits throughout the pandemic, including ticketing me for going 29 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. Paradoxically-squared: local paranoia over Nazi-nurses torturing transplanted retirees with freedom-smothering N-95 masks birthed the local “Breathe-Free Montana” group, a John Birch-flavored extremist outfit whose adherents recently succeeded in orchestrating a coup against the already-entrenched, already-hard-right-but-apparently-not-hard-right-enough Republican Central Committee that has had a stranglehold on our local politics since that black guy became president.

So there I sat in a Ravalli County examining room which, in a reality-based county, would be a “safe space,” but, remember, we’re talking Ravalli County. The nice nurse left to “get the doctor” and, less than two minutes later, a Hamilton Police officer barged in unannounced, in “full metal jacket,” demanding that I either surrender my cat to be quarantined for 10 days in kitty jail or that I sign an affidavit that I will do it myself and that, if my cat escaped during that time and caused damage to other peoples’ property, I would be liable. As an example, he cited the possibility that my cat could bite a cow and give the whole herd rabies.

His logic, of course, was impeccable but, as my hand throbbed in my lap, I also thought that maybe I had contracted rabies or some other hallucinatory microbe. I had to get rid of this guy so I could get drugs and, thankfully, cognitive dissonance is usually a passing thing, and so I told him that I would be glad to produce a record of her recent rabies shot. Never mind, he countered. I must either surrender Fatso or sign, which I did. The catch: the affidavit stipulated that, after her 10-day quarantine, I would bring her in to the station to prove she wasn’t a rabid John Bircher yet, which was beauty-cubed, since I thought a conversation with local law enforcement about cows being more important to them than people would be priceless. I have no intention of taking Fatso in for her parole hearing and, to date, we are still on the lam, awaiting a wonderful conversation. BTW: Anyone know a good lawyer who doesn’t have rabies yet?