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Stealing others' words 

Ranger Rich

The other day a woman came up to me in the grocery store — not to brag, but many people in our village recognize me — and she said, "So, Mitch, what do you make of this Scott McInnis plagiarism thing?"

McInnis, as you likely know, wants to be our governor. But we recently found out he stole someone else's words and passed them off as his own. So I told the woman in the store, "You know, ma'am, all free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner."

She plunged a carrot into my eye and, judging by the sound, stomped away.

Anyway, the McInnis plagiarism scandal came from a blockbuster story in our very own local daily newspaper, the Denver Post, which discovered page after page of an essay about water turned in by politician-lawyer McInnis actually had been written years earlier by a real Colorado water expert.

From 1984 writings of Gregory Hobbs (now a Colorado Supreme Court justice): "In the early Sixties, renewed litigation resulted in the 1964 Consolidated Cases decree, through which Denver stipulated that it had no right, title or interest in the waters of Green Mountain Reservoir."

From an essay written by McInnis: "Not all politicians are thieves and big fat liars and oh, look, my pants have just burst into flames."

No, seriously, this is what McInnis "wrote" in 2005: "In the early 1960s renewed litigation resulted in the 1964 consolidated cases decree in which Denver stipulated that it had no right, title or interest in the waters of Green Mountain."

You can plainly see this isn't plagiarism because whereas Hobbs wrote "In the early Sixties," McInnis wrote "In the early 1960s."

My point is this: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Or, as I was saying to my wife the other day: To be, or not to be. That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?

(She pulled the cat closer and whispered in his ear, "Stay with mommy until the strange man with the apron goes away.")

McInnis, as politicians do, faced the charges head-on, blaming the plagiarism on an 82-year-old man in Glenwood Springs (who responded by calling McInnis a liar) and later, as best I can understand, blaming British Petroleum and Satan.

To which I say, in my own words, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

As for the political gravy train McInnis has ridden for years, I have this thought, which is entirely mine: And by and by Christopher Robin came to an end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn't stop.

I mean it. And while we discuss McInnis' writings, it's important to remember that there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.

And water brings recreational dollars to Colorado from things such as fishing, which reminds me of the time I was fishing in Prospect Lake right here and the fish came alive, with his death in him, and rose high out of the water showing all his great length and width and all his power and beauty. He seemed to hang in the air above the old man in the skiff. Then he fell into the water with a crash that sent spray over the old man and over all of the skiff.

McInnis, of course, still thinks he should be governor. He's so confident that he just released his brand-new, original campaign motto: "I Like Ike!"

And if you ask me, I'd say I hope the road rises up to meet him. I hope the wind is always at his back and the sun shines warm upon his face, the rains fall soft upon his fields and until we meet again, may God hold Scott McInnis in the palm of His hand.

Because when I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

rangerrich@csindy.com

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