You know who hates being asked relevant questions about a pressing topic before he's had a chance to craft a canned answer? Secretary of the U.S Department of the Interior Ken Salazar, that's who.
He hates it so much he apparently warned Gazette reporter Dave Philipps, in a close encounter of the fifth-generation-Coloradan kind, that if the reporter ever pinned the Colorado College graduate down again: "I'll punch you out."
Philipps, who is recently returned to the daily's staff after completing some studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder, was seeking to get comment from the secretary on the Bureau of Land Management's handling of its growing wild-horses problem, which is detailed in this story for ProPublica:
The BLM has sold [Colorado livestock hauler Tom] Davis at least 1,700 wild horses and burros since 2009, agency records show — 70 percent of the animals purchased through its sale program.
Like all buyers, Davis signs contracts promising that animals bought from the program will not be slaughtered and insists he finds them good homes.
But Davis is a longtime advocate of horse slaughter. By his own account, he has ducked Colorado law to move animals across state lines and will not say where they end up. He continues to buy wild horses for slaughter from Indian reservations, which are not protected by the same laws. And since 2010, he has been seeking investors for a slaughterhouse of his own.
"Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt," he said. "What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?"
It's a great story that raises great questions and it would've been great to get something good from Salazar. Instead we got the equal parts indignant and unintentionally ironic response that asking questions that deal with shit that matters at a rally for President Barack Obama is beyond the pale.
And to those who think the former senator from, and attorney general for, the state of Colorado ought to have the emotional capacity — in himself, or in that cowboy hat — to deal with even more loaded issues than this, take heart from his office's follow-up statement, as reported by the Gazette: "The Secretary regrets the exchange.”
Yeah, Ken, we all kind of do. Audio here.