Friday, February 28, 2014

Ukraine. Once Again Obama Strikes Fear in the Heart of Vladimir Putin

Tall tales and humor often have a way of putting human foibles into perspective.  Beyond that they may project them upon a larger stage.

I am reminded of an old but instructive yarn.  After the passing of years, I may remember it imperfectly, but the gist of the tale remains in tact.

Once upon a time when the old West was being settled there lived a rancher, his wife and two adolescent children.  They had staked out and improved a sizable spread of fertile grassland, stocking it with cattle and horses.  The rancher had built a sturdy pole house and dug a year-round well that furnished sweet, clean water. The family was happy and self-sufficient.

In the winter months, when time laid heavy on his hands, the rancher would leave his family to mind the place while he lit out for the nearby mountains to hunt, fish and, mainly to trap furs.  At the first hint of spring, he would head back to the ranch with his mink and beaver pelts.  It was time to prepare for the planting season.  On one fateful occasion, as he approached his homestead, he saw smoke.  When he reached what had been his home he found the house a smoldering ruin, his children shot dead and his wife mortally wounded.  He took her in his arms and asked her what had happened.  Wheezing painfully from a lung shot she told him that the notorious and feared Big Jim Culpepper had ridden in, slaughtered the horses and cattle, set the house afire, raped her, gunned down the children and finally shot her.  Her breath freckled, coughing weakly, she died.

The rancher went about the somber business of burying his family and struck out on his only remaining saddle horse to track down Big Jim.  After a week had passed, he caught fresh sign.  From the depth of boot and hoof-prints as well as frequent stops to rest the his horse, the rancher deduced that the man he followed was uncommonly large.  Soon he caught sight of that brutal outlaw.  Quickly he overtook him.  A giant in the saddle, the man was heavily armed, and everything about him spelled menace.

"Are you Big Jim Culpepper?", the rancher shouted.
"What of it?", Big Jim snarled.
"Are you the man who raped my wife, shot my kids, burned my house and slaughtered my cattle?"
"What of it?", Big Jim repeated.
In the strongest voice he could manage the rancher said, "You better watch that shit!"

The tale of the rancher is darkly humorous, but there is nothing in Mr. Obama's foreign policy to be taken lightly.  Failing to recognize the irony of his own words, the President may have said it best: "There will be costs."

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