An email acquaintance who has a mining claim on Federal land in New Mexico sent out an anecdote to his email friends about an incident this weekend.
He headed out to his claim, bypassed a barricade, and began doing what he always does there. He was spang in the midst of doing it when he looked up and a guy in a USFS law enforcement uniform wearing mirror sunglasses was scowling down with his hands on his hips. “Come out of there. You are going to jail.”
He scrambled up onto the bank and stood face-to-face with the sneering mirror sunglasses. “This is a filed mining claim. My fees are all paid, everything’s legal here. I have a right to be here. What law do you think I’m breaking?”
Mirror sunglasses ran his fingers over his holster. “This is Federal land. You are trespassing. You’re either leaving or going to jail. ”
“I’m armed too. Get your hand away from that holster and don’t even think about pointing a pistol at me unless you want to shoot me. I’m not doing anything illegal. You are. Get the hell out of here, or try handcuffing me and we’ll see what happens. It’s just you and me here. Do we want to go to war?”
Mirror sunglasses stepped back and assumed a gunfighter stance, the ghost of Billy the Kid in a USFS uniform. Then he must have considered what he was doing and come to his senses. “I can have backup out here in half-an-hour. If you’re still here you’ll be in a lot of trouble.”
He backed to his vehicle, glared again, and drove away.
The miner did some thinking on his own part and decided the price of a shootout with the Forces of Darkness wasn’t the lesser of evils in this situation. Loaded his gear and headed back to civilization, figuring he’d meet the US Cavalry on the road.
But he didn’t encounter anyone. He says he hasn’t decided whether to try it again next weekend.
Claude Dallas is evidently alive and well in the boondocks.